BINGHAMTON, NY – Our region is attracting national attention with a new broadband project to keep everyone connected.

The Southern Tier Eight Regional Board originally launched Project Connect late last year.

The plan is to connect every household, business and institution across eight counties to high-speed broadband, and kick-start a new era of economic opportunity.

The Upstate Rural Broadband Conference met at the DoubleTree in Binghamton.

The conference allowed for local, state, and federal officials to collaborate with the business community as well as the fiber and wireless industries.

The eight counties represented by the conference include Broome, Chenango, Cortland, Delaware, Otsego, Schoharie, Tioga, and Tompkins.

Executive Director of Southern Tier Eight Regional Board, Jen Gregory says, “And for some of us that have service, we’re fortunate enough to have this, so, we may not understand why its a big deal. Unless you are in that community that isn’t served, then it’s a huge deal.”

New York State will soon be rolling-out an infrastructure budget; today’s event hopes to spark the conversation with officials that broadband can be accepted as needed infrastructure.

The Program Manager for Broadband at the Appalachian Regional Commission, Curtis Hansen says that broadband is essential for economic development.

People run their businesses online while others are pursuing an education.
Hansen says it is do-or-die in terms of economic growth.

Program Manager for Broadband at Appalachian Regional Commission Curtis Hansen says, “The only way for those funds to make it into the Southern Tier is for local leaders to pull those funds into the corner of their communities. So by having conversations, raising awareness, increasing knowledge, building skill sets, making introductions to private partners, we will only then see the opportunity to see for that federal funding make it all the way to the Southern Tier.”

Hansen says that the implementation of the infrastructure is much easier said than done.
Officials first must acquire the funds to pay for the network, and then a larger amount of time to construct that infrastructure.