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Canton, N.Y., to Consider Municipal Broadband Network

Following a presentation of a new broadband study, officials recommended holding a meeting about taking a two-pronged approach to improve access to high-speed Internet, including discussion of a municipal network.

Broadband
(TNS) — Following a presentation of a broadband study from John R. McAdoo of MC Fibers, the Canton Broadband Committee recommended to a joint meeting of the village and town boards Wednesday that a two-pronged approach be taken to improve access to high speed internet throughout the town, including a municipal network.

Mr. McAdoo's study revealed that there are 245 unserved addresses in the town, outside the village.

Providing service to those addresses should be a priority, he said.

All other addresses have service that varies in quality.

In the village there are 2,103 households that all have access to Verizon's copper service and Spectrum's coaxial service, he said. The coaxial service provides 100 megabits download speed and 20 megabits upload. The copper service or DSL is less.

The new standard for full service will soon be 100 megabits both ways, Mr. McAdoo said.

While there is fiber optic cable in the village, there is no fiber optic cable that connects directly to residences, he said.

Outside the village, there are 2,161 total addresses, all of which have access to Verizon copper service and 1,567 have access to Spectrum's coaxial service.

There are about 570 residences that have access to various fiber optic networks.

Mr. McAdoo recommended that along with addressing residences with no access, that Canton consider building a municipal network that would provide up-to-standard, high speed internet to all.

"I think Canton is well suited to construct a municipal network," he said.

Much of the funding for such a project could come from the New York State Connectall initiative.

Connectall is a plan to use $1 billion in public and private investments to expand broadband access across the state.

To support local efforts to expand broadband, the initiative will establish three grant programs to provide funding to local municipalities and other entities to plan, engineer, and construct accessible broadband infrastructure.

Mr. McAdoo said it would cost from $10 million to $12 million to construct a network to serve every residence in Canton.

If a municipal network is not pursued, there should still be a plan to get access to the unserved residences, he said.

The best way to achieve that would be to ask for requests for proposals from Spectrum, Verizon, SLIC and TDS to provide the service.

A municipal network would have to cover a bit less than 200 miles of road and use utility poles already in place.

"The poles are all accessible," Mr. McAdoo said.

Village Trustee Anna M. Sorensen said that before moving forward with a municipal network the boards would need to determine how many people would be interested in using the service.

The service, she said, would not be run by the municipal boards, but would be contracted out to an internet provider.

"We would not be a provider," she said.

"In the village, competition is what I would like to see," Mayor Michael E. Dalton said.

Mr. McAdoo said the next step would be for the board to do a legal and tax review to determine the feasibility of the project.

Ms. Sorenson reiterated that they would need to pursue a plan to provide service to the unserved residents while exploring the possibility of a municipal network.

© 2022 Watertown Daily Times (Watertown, N.Y.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.