Dropping the Ball on Broadband for Farmland- An Editorial

We have agreed that internet is lacking here and something needs to be done.

In a previous post I asked our candidates for Erie County Executive about Broadband in our area and what they were planning on doing about it.  Here are their responses

The Currently County Executive Mr. Poloncarz has proposed ErieNet and has at least got some wheels turning to get it going.  Though really, how far is $250,000 going to go? AND has that budget even been actually approved yet?

His opponent Ms. Dixon makes some points about other places that have tried to implement their own internet and it hasn’t turned out so great. As for 5G, that is just a mess in itself anyway. Between the tech coming from CHINA, as well as the unknowns of what it can do to the environment AND some residents don’t even have BASIC internet here yet, how long would 5G take to get here??   So, what are our options?

First off, if you go To this link and put in our zip code, zoom in on the map, it will show you in real time how under served our community is.  Note all the RED.  That means ZERO providers.  

Our kids shouldn’t have to go into the Village to be able to get enough internet to do their schoolwork. People can’t enjoy Netflix or their favorite streaming music/shows because it just keeps cutting out!  It is hard to get real time info to people during a weather emergency.  There are just too many things to list.  It is like we are living in 1995 instead of 2019, and frankly there is no excuse for it.

USDA Made Grants (#freemoney) and Grant/Loan Programs Available for Rural Farm Areas to get Fios Last Year

Last year the USDA (YES, under the Trump administration) made grants and grant/loan programs available to communities like ours to get money (#FREEMONEY) to extend broadband.  To the tune of $400 MILLION BUCKS!  You can read the Press Release HERE .  Sounds GREAT, doesn’t it?  Well sadly, none of our folks, even bothered applying for it.  Now the cut off date has passed.  If you dig deeper, there is an interactive map that shows who applied and where they are in the application process (spoiler, we aren’t on it).  Here is the booklet put out by the USDA  explaining the whole thing.  BTW, it took me a grand total of 15 seconds to find this.

Not only was the Federal Government handing out money, but so was NYS.  I’m hoping that $250,000 Mr Poloncarz put in the budget was from a grant and not taxpayer money.

There is SO MUCH #FREEMONEY out there, and it is our elected officials jobs to look for it and secure grants.  This would get the job done while keeping taxes low.

So here are MY questions:

Whose job is it to hunt down grants for infrastructure here?  Is it Town Council? Is it our Legislator? Our Assemblyman? County Executive? We don’t have a Congressman.  

How come no one bothered to apply?

I am hopeful that these grants will become available again next year with the new Federal budget.  Will someone apply for them this time?

The Newsteader wasn’t really a real “thing” yet when these announcements were made last year.  If The Newsteader was here then, you can be SURE #FreeMoney for Internet would have been a headline.

I invite any and all elected officials in the Akron/Newstead district to respond.  I am email this to all of them as well as posting on Twitter, and  tagging them if they have an account, as well as the people running against them.  We need answers.  -JAP-