(TNS) -- The city has hired a Schenectady consulting firm to study Albany's high-speed Internet needs, Mayor Kathy Sheehan announced Friday.
The study by Millennium Strategies will focus on existing broadband access in the city, the digital divide among those with high-speed access and those without it, the needs of the business community and will "recommend a prudent path" to ensure access for everyone, the mayor's office said.
"Whether you're a student or a business owner, we live in a world where high-speed connections are essential to success," Sheehan said in a statement, citing statistics that between 30 and 50 percent of upstate children live in homes that cannot afford broadband access.
The study, which is expected to be complete before summer, is an outgrowth of Sheehan's Broadband Initiative Working Group of business, government and community leaders announce in July.
In March, Councilman Judd Krasher floated the idea that Albany ought to form a commission to study the creation of its own municipal broadband network to make the service faster and cheaper than existing commercial options.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has set a goal of bringing broadband to all New Yorkers by 2018.
©2016 the Times Union (Albany, N.Y.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.