NICHOLS, N.Y. (WENY) -- Nichols have been named as one of four communities in New York to take part in the state's ConnectALL program. The program is designed to bring affordable and high-speed internet to unserved or underserved rural communities across New York. Southern Tier Network, based in Corning, will be heading the project. They seek to build a 35-mile, open access network infrastructure to connect the Nichols community to the world-wide-web. 

"We're working with... New York Power Authority, the ConnectALL office, Tioga County and the Town of Nichols to build this project. About 850 residents will be able to be served, and we will be bringing local affordable broadband services to all those residences," said Jeff Gasper, CEO of Southern Tier Network.

In Nichols, the project is already starting.

 "We are starting to deploy the network now. We're going to start turning up customers in the second half of September, and as we go through the phases of the project we'll get to all the residences probably by Spring or Summer of next year... depending on timeline, weather [and] things of that nature," Gasper said.

Through subsidies provided through the ConnectALL program, internet bills could drop down to 10 dollars a month.

"We've had two open, public forums thus far. We've talked to the residents. They are currently paying 90 to 200 dollars a month. We are going to have a $40 a month plan, and after some subsidies that could drop down to $10 a month. That could save the residents of Nichols more than $1 million per year," said Gasper.

There are a lot of costs associated with developing internet infrastructure, especially in communities who have never had, or had little infrastructure. 

"The cost per mile is extremely expensive, there are a lot of fees with DOT and the power utility company, a lot of time we have to replace the telephone poles because the telephone poles are aged and need to be replaced. So, there's a lot of challenges that we see: costs going up, labor issues and equipment shortages. But we are working diligently to get ahead of those and get into a position where we can really serve the unserved and underserved residences," said Gasper.

To learn more about the ConnectALL project in Nichols, click here.