Cortland County Applying For $25 Million State Broadband Grant
In an effort to expand broadband Internet access to underserved areas of Cortland County and capitalize on the counties 14 million dollar emergency communications project and a multimillion-dollar fiber optic project that is running through Cortland County, lawmakers have approved an application for up to 25 million in state funds for broadband projects.
Yesterday, County Industrial Development Agency Director Gary VanGorder and Deputy Information-Technology Director Jack Hess presented information on a project that if funded could bring high speed internet access to nearly 80% of homes and business in Cortland County. Right now less than half the homes and business in the county have access to reliable and fast service.
The state recently announced $25 million dollars is available to expand broadband access in underserved areas.
The Federal Stimulus Program announced a few years ago included a project to run fiber optic cable from Tompkins County up Route 13 to DeRuyter and beyond. With that project moving ahead VanGorder has been looking for ways to connect end users into the line.
In an attempt to tap into this latest state broadband grant VanGorder has found a company that could hook into the fiber optic line and use wireless microwave dishes mounted on County radio towers to bring the broadband signal to homes and businesses in the more rural areas of the county.
Hess who has been actively involved with the county’s communications upgrade says this could be a benefit for public safety providers and the county as well.
The radio towers have enough space to accommodate the equipment. The county can use the investment in the radio project as it’s match for the funding if awarded.
The grant is due on October 5th and should be announced later this year. The county is process of constructing the new radio network, which is expected to go live early next year.