Broadband May See Extension In Catt. Co.

LITTLE VALLEY – Rural areas in Western New York are still fighting for a higher-speed Internet connection. Some areas are stuck with something akin to the dialup days, while others have blazing fast speed. Cattaraugus County is looking to help in a move that would lay more of the backbone infrastructure to create the high-speed trunk.

An application in the current round of consolidated funding from New York state may be the shot in the arm needed to bring quality, reliable Internet connectivity to Cattaraugus County, according to Crystal Abers, economic development director.

A plan to work with the Dunkirk-based DFT, would add fiber to the existing line that runs through the county in an east-west direction, connecting Olean with Jamestown, via a connection in Little Valley, Abers said. The new line would run from Little Valley south, to the city of Salamanca.

Additional infrastructure would allow the line to eventually be branched out, creating more of an opportunity for residents to enjoy the Web at fast speeds.

One issue has surfaced, however. Development of the line seems to be centered on the southern part of the county, with those in the northwestern corner especially being left out, according to District 5 Legislator Donna Vickman, R-Farmersville Station.

“We are patiently waiting up in that part of the county,” she said. “When will we be getting the cable up there as well?”

Abers said the development of broadband in the county has been a slow-moving process, and that the lines can only go where DFT can get them. Development of more cable into the underserved areas may be part of future phases, but to get to those phases, funding for this segment has to be in place.

The application, though receiving support from the members of the legislature, will be through Southern Tier West Regional Planning Board. The board will contribute $85,000 to the project, contingent on awarding of the funds from the CFA, Abers said. The $85,000 would represent an 84 percent contribution share of the project, totaling around $340,000.

The deadline for applications in this round of the CFA are due June 16. Projects will be awarded in the fall, Abers said.