Broadband expansion uncertain despite stimulus funds

Stimulus funds are supposedly meant for "unserved" or "underserved" areas. However, the agencies in charge of their administration have yet to come up with a specific definition for those terms, meaning it may be weeks before communication companies can even apply for the money.

That includes Verizon, which operates communications networks throughout much of the rest of Clinton and Essex counties.

"We're always exploring areas and looking into how we can deploy more broadband," said Verizon NY spokesman Jon Bonomo, "but there hasn't been any rules laid out yet for the grant program."

Since Verizon has yet to receive any funding from the federal stimulus, Bonomo said it was too early to tell what kind of additions, if any, there would be to the company's broadband network in the Adirondack region.

If there is significant expansion to broadband access in the region, Forcier suspects it will come mostly in the form of large-scale wireless Internet. He pointed to the efforts of CBN Connect, a local broadband nonprofit carrier that has expressed interest in developing infrastructure in Warren and Essex counties.

"That could realistically be the pipe network to get to different towns and villages," Forcier said, "but you still need to go that last mile to the customers. There's no way CBN can do that."

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