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Crown Point business leader steps down

CROWN POINT Crown Point Telephone has undergone some changes recently including the retirement of company President Patricia Knapp Jan. 1. Knapp had been president of the company since 1988 and has seen the company grow from switchboard operators and crank telephones to the newest technology, broadband service in Crown Point. Knapps daughter, Shana Knapp-Macey, has been appointed as the new president of the company. Macey is the third generation to run the family owned business. Macey began her career with Crown Point Telephone in 1992 and in 2006 was elected to The New York State Telecommunications Association (NYSTA) board of directors. Serving on several sub-committees of NYSTA, Macey advocates on behalf of the states telecommunications industry in Albany and Washington, D.C. In conjunction with the change of leadership, mother and daughter have been working to bring broadband internet to their customers at competitive prices. By switching providers and making upgrades, the task was accomplished just before Knapps retirement. Competition is the biggest challenge for us, stated Macey. Small companies like Crown Point Telephone are now competing with large national cable and television firms offering services as well as large national wireless providers. Macey said there is a mis-conception that a small company such as Crown Point Telephone cannot compete with the latest technologies in our community. We wanted to be the first small community to offer DSL service to our customers, stated Macey. After receiving service quality Commendation Awards from the New York State Public Service Commission for 14 consecutive years in a row, we needed to continue in our quest to serve our customers and offer the latest technology. Gov. Elliott Spitzer announced at the New York Farm Bureau annual meeting in Niagara Falls that increased access to broadband service combined with digital literacy programs could dramatically improve cultural, social and educational opportunities. Funds were allocated in the 2007 budget for grants for accessible internet for the under-served areas of rural New York, including the North Country and the Adirondack Park. Internet access is no longer a luxury, stated Spitzer. We must implement a strategy that leads to every New Yorker having access to affordable, high-speed internet so that they may take advantage of the economic, social and cultural opportunities it provides. We utilize 100 percent digital switching technology and fiber optics in our network, said Macey. Unlike many other rural areas, we offer high speed DSL broadband service in 100% percent of our serving territory. Macey contends larger providers will not come into the community to serve the people because they are not willing to invest as extensively as Crown Point Telephone has been willing to do. Crown Point Telephones newly upgraded DSL service is available in tiers with pricing to match. Broadband speeds from 384 kilobytes per second (kbps) are offered to everyone and in some locations, 1.5 megabytes per second are attainable. Pricing ranges from $32 a month for the lowest speed and the highest speed is $49 a month. We want our prices to be competitive and at the same time, be a very good deal for the customer, said Macey. We are a part of our community economically, technologically and socially, smiled Macey. We want to make sure Crown Point isnt an under-served rural area. We think Gov. Spitzer would be proud of our efforts. Macey and her husband, Tony, reside in Crown Point with their two children, Alexandra, 13 years old, and Robby, 10 years old.

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