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Lewis County Launches Broadband Expansion Project with Ribbon-Cutting Ceremonies in Port Leyden and Town of Diana

 

Published: January 10, 2022 at 05:00 p.m.

By: Press Release from Lewis County Department of Planning and Community Development

 

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Lewis County Broadband Launch

Ribbon cutting ceremonies held in the Village of Port Leyden and the Town of Diana

 

Lewis County celebrated the launch of the new Hudson Valley Wireless broadband expansion today and announced that a number of income-eligible residents will qualify for free installation of the equipment necessary to enable service at their homes.

 

For the last two years Lewis County has been working to expand broadband access to its residents to help ensure long-term access to affordable, quality internet. The county has taken a hybrid approach, planning a variety of solutions for different parts of the county, depending upon what will likely work best. With funding from NYS Homes & Community Renewal’s NYS Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, the first phase of the broadband expansion is complete.

 

Ribbon-cuttings took place at Port Leyden and Harrisville, the sites of the first two towers in this initiative to be brought online. The county capitalized on existing assets by installing wireless equipment on towers it owns, enabling service to approximately 599 unserved household in this phase of the project.

 

The event also celebrates the launch of 27 free public wi-fi hotspots located in hamlets and villages throughout Lewis County, including Port Leyden and Harrisville. While Hudson Valley Wireless will provide these free hotspots within their service areas, Lewis County Legislators endorsed a one-of-a-kind 3-year agreement with Spectrum to replicate this service throughout the entire County.

 

As part of its on-going broadband efforts, Lewis County was awarded $747,790 in funding through the State’s CDBG Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) program to expand broadband infrastructure in low to moderate-income communities within the county. This project was completed below the anticipated budget, so Lewis County will be using the remaining grant funds to cover the cost of installation of customer equipment on a first-come, first-served basis for approximately 200 households that both live within the project area and are income-eligible for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). In addition to receiving free standard installation and free equipment, subscribers that qualify for the ACP will also be eligible for the Microsoft Affordable Computer Initiative with laptop or desktop devices starting at $11.

 

“From the initial data-gathering project that the Development Authority jointly sponsored two years ago, Lewis County has enthusiastically demonstrated its commitment to expanding broadband service for the residents of the county,” said Carl E. Farone, Jr., Executive Director of the Development Authority of the North Country. “The Authority is proud to have worked collaboratively with Lewis County to help bring these projects to fruition and we look forward to continuing that partnership to further expand broadband to benefit county residents.”

 

"Internet connectivity is a modern utility on par with electricity and water. It is critical that rural areas like Lewis County invest in broadband infrastructure to keep our community competitive and livable,” said Ryan Piche, Lewis County Manager. “I am proud of the efforts we've made in Lewis County to serve our residents with this critical infrastructure. Few communities in the North Country have done as much to close the rural broadband gap as we have. It is also important that we thank our incredible partners in the Development Authority. Their expertise and leadership on this issue are invaluable to the region."

 

While this event marks a monumental achievement in closing the digital divide in Lewis County, several additional broadband projects are in the works. Over the next year, with funding awarded to Lewis County by the Northern Border Regional Commission, Hudson Valley Wireless will expand its service area to include the towns of Harrisburg, Pinckney, Denmark, Lowville, and a portion of Montague. Relative to fiber expansion, through a public/private partnership with Spectrum, Lewis County Legislators also approved the use of ARPA funds to connect approximately 366 potential households in the towns of Croghan, Denmark, Watson, Lowville and Greig to highspeed internet.

 

Furthermore, with funding from New York State’s ConnectALL Initiative, NYPA will be working on a $10 million pilot program to expand broadband in the Town of Diana.

 

“These local, state, and private investments are remarkable for our rural county, and we will continue to push for complete county-wide broadband coverage,” Piche said.

 

New York State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, “Affordable and reliable highspeed broadband is essential for New Yorkers to fully participate in our economy and society. We are thrilled that our $748,000 CDBG CARES award to Lewis County has already benefitted nearly 600 unserved households and is expected to provide free equipment installation for an additional 200 residents. Alongside Governor Hochul, and in partnership with local leaders, we will continue our efforts to remove the barriers to high-speed coverage in under resourced communities and build a truly inclusive, engaged and connected New York for all.”

 

To check the availability of high-speed Hudson Valley Wireless internet service in your area or to see if you are eligible for free Hudson Valley Wireless installation and equipment through the Affordable Connectivity Program, please visit https://www.hvwisp.com/ .

 

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Our full video from each ceremony can be viewed via the links below:

 

VIDEO (YouTube): Lewis County Launches Broadband Expansion Project in Port Leyden with Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony

 

VIDEO (YouTube): Lewis County Launches Broadband Expansion Project in Town of Diana with Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony

 

 

 

 

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