Tag: erienet

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-





Our Internet is as Slow as a Snail Here.

Yup. many neighbors have some of the slowest speeds around, or none.  This is completely unacceptable in 2019.  Since it’s an election year, I sent out questions to the folks running for Erie County Executive to see what they had to say about it.  It is troubling that my neighbors ONE house down can’t even enjoy Netfilx!  It was a bit of a struggle, but I got answers from BOTH candidates.

Slow to no internet in and around Newstead has been a burden to residents and has been hampering growth for years.  The whole world is digital now from where we order stuff, to ride haling services, prescription refills, and everything else you can think of.  Fast internet is also needed for the schoolkids. We are now going into 2020 and there are neighbors of mine (the next house down as a matter of fact) that can only access internet through ridiculously expensive (and slow) satillight, DSL (might as well be dial up), and some other slow service.  If you are lucky enough to have Spectrum, they have spotty service, and now they are raising prices again because they have a monopoly and they can.

County Executive Mark Poloncarz has proposed “Erienet” which would be run by the county to get fast internet to us in agriculture areas.  He talked about it back in March(?), but hasn’t said much since.

Since the election is coming up, and I have people complaining about this to me daily, I decided to write to both candidates for County Executive regarding this issue.  I asked them both about their plans to address our internet desert.  I heard back from both of their campaigns, and here are their responses for you:

LynneDixon  Lynne Dixon

The region is falling behind in terms of its digital network, it’s hurting residents and it is hurting our efforts to bring in new businesses to help boost our lagging local economy. A recent report said Erie County/Buffalo trails even Rochester and Syracuse in our average download speed. Only a few areas have high-speed fiber in Erie County, and everyone else is being left behind. We need to work to close the digital divide. In August, NYS allocated $16.1 million to expand broadband internet in rural communities, this includes 26 locations in Erie County. This is a start, we need to continue to work at it. Everyone deserves reliable and quick internet access. Erie County is pursing a plan on our level to help address the gap, but we haven’t received many details on this from the Poloncarz administration since it was first mentioned by the County Executive in March. I think the Legislature, especially Legislators that represent rural communities, are very intrigued by this proposal and we have called on the Erie County Legislature majority to hold meetings and hearings on this, that letter was sent April 9th, so far they have refused. I am hopeful they adhere to our request so we can begin moving this forward.
Here is a copy of the letter:  dixons letter    

MarkPoloncarz Mark Poloncarz

Thanks for your email. ErieNet is full steam ahead! Just yesterday in the 2020 budget presentation we announced $250,000 in funding for the initial design and business planning of ErieNet. This funding will enable the Department of Environment and Planning to hire a specialized IT contractor to begin the key preparatory work needed to start construction on ErieNet.

Since announcing the ErieNet proposal at the 2019 State of the County address, an internal Erie County team of attorneys, IT experts and planners has been working to develop the specific legal structure of ErieNet which is a critical first piece of the plan. Next year’s planning phase is the next step.
For a direct customer like yourself, the ErieNet team is working to solicit “last-mile” providers who would tie into the ErieNet Open Access Network (OAN). Think of ErieNet as the highway, and the last mile providers as the streets and alleys. There are a number of smaller regional internet service providers, (ISPs) in New York State who specialize in providing fiber internet service to underserved areas and they have expressed interest in our OAN model.