Syracuse, NY – As the past year has shown us, reliable access to broadband internet is no longer a luxury. Covid-19 forced many aspects of our day-to-day lives online; virtual learning, working from home, online shopping, telemedicine, and simply staying connected with those we care about. It has also shown us how prevalent the digital divide is in our community. To address these issues, the Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board (CNY RPDB) is working with its member counties and asking residents and businesses located in Cayuga, Cortland, Madison, Onondaga, and Oswego Counties to participate in a survey that will identify areas that lack access to reliable broadband internet. (Please note a similar study was completed in Madison County in 2019).
Assisting with the study is ECC Technologies, a private consulting firm based in Rochester, NY that has a successful history working with counties and municipalities across Upstate New York to identify and solve broadband internet access issues.
The broadband internet study includes a two-pronged approach, identifying physical infrastructure and conducting a public survey. Field work to inventory and map broadband facilities in each county, including existing fiber and coaxial cabling and tower sites, is nearing completion. ECC Technologies has developed a website and survey material that will allow CNY RPDB to collect data about broadband access in the region, called the Broadband Availability and Adoption Toolset (BAAT). CNY RPDB is using the BAAT survey to reach residents and businesses to learn about their current internet access issues, service reliability, and the affordability of their internet access options.
Please note the confidential information collected from this survey will be used to identify areas in the region most in need of improved internet access service. The information will also provide the basis for developing a plan that will help improve broadband internet access in the region. The plan will be completed by October 2021.
Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon said, “Access to broadband can no longer be viewed as a luxury. One of the many lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic is that broadband is as important as clean water and safe streets.” McMahon continued, “We will no longer wait for others to lead in this area. We are prepared to invest up to fifteen million dollars to bring broadband to every home in Onondaga County. Working with our partners at the Central New York Regional Planning Board, we will make access to broadband a reality and will do so quickly.”
You can take the survey from any computer or mobile device at this link: www.cnyinternet.com
If you do not have internet access, public access to a computer or paper copies of the survey may be available at your local library and municipal office. Please contact them first, to check on current hours and restrictions. You may also contact CNY RPDB at (315) 412-5966 for assistance filling out the survey or to have a survey delivered to your home.