Rural Broadband Issue in Tompkins County

Tomkins County Needs Internet

Rural Broadband for Tompkins County

May 9, 2012

Tompkins County (WENY) - Some Tompkins county neighbors are still living without a 21st century technology, and legislators believe its a county-wide issue. The internet is almost required these days to do business and communicate.

But believe it or not, there's a large group of people without access to broadband internet. As of September of last year more than 4,700 Tompkins County households were without broadband internet access, and county legislators are trying to change that.

“I have to rely on dial up and dial up is not really adequate for a professional activity.”

Robert Lynch works for a company that designs radio stations. That company will close in November forcing him to move his business home. If the county can get broadband internet to rural areas like Enfield it will it will help Robert keep his business.

“That means a business can continue that means a business can start that means a business will be able to stay in the area rather than go elsewhere,” says Robert.

The Tompkins County broadband committee has come up with a solution. It's called a fixed wireless system and it uses microwaves to broadcast signals to homes.

Gary Reinbolt presented the idea today to local Newfield neighbors.

“Anyone within three to five miles could put a simple antenna on their roof to pick up this signal its not complicated its a technology that's been used for years and its very reliable.”

This technology would cost the county around 2 million dollars to build. A business plan must be presented to Legislators before any action is taken. But broadband access for rural towns can only help Tompkins county grow.

Pat Pryor is the Broadband committee chair for the county.

“The county is connected those of us who live in the more rural areas are connected to the ones who live in more urban areas, so whats good for the rural area is good for the county as a whole county.”

The committee plans to conduct a county wide survey by phone to find out who has broadband internet and who doesn’t. The results from the survey will help the county decide weather to go forward with the project.