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Keene gears up for high-speed Internet

Little was on hand May 21 as community leaders announced the funding to town residents.

"I believe in broadband," she said. "I believe this is what's going to keep communities in the Adirondacks sustainable."

It's that hope for sustainability that community leaders are counting on for a community with so few year-round residents.

"With these modern services, people can work from home at remote jobs," said Herman, "something often referred to as telecommuting."

"This is the kind of economic development that is well suited to the Adirondack Park because it reduces the amount that people must drive to and from work and it requires no industrial facilities," said project co-director Dave Mason.

Herman and Mason hope that the expanded internet service will attract and retain more residents, both part-time and year-round, creating more business for local merchants and increasing enrollment at Keene Central School.

"Greater availability of good jobs will enable more young families to live here and take advantage of our award-winning school," said KCS superintendent Cynthia Johnston, who added that reaching more homes with broadband will give students in the community greater educational opportunity.

Though another $150,000 in additional funds are needed to connect the final 150 homes, Mason and Herman are optimistic for federal grants and additional private contributions to help the project reach its ultimate goal.

"We hope to get done soon to be able to serve as a role model for other towns in the area," said Herman, "both for how to get this work done and to show real benefits to the community after the wires are in place."

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