The more remote areas of Allegany County are finally going to get broadband internet access. The testing has begun in the Belmont area and almost ready, said Ryan Cool, executive director of the Allegany County Telecommunications Development Corp. on Wednesday, according to the Olean Times Herald.
“It’s an exciting time for us,” Cool told the Herald, “We’re almost ready to light up our first tower.” The tests will connect the county’s offices to that ‘first tower’ located on Corbin Hill.
“What we’re doing now is looking for last-mile providers,” Cool said, who will connect the towers to individual customers within line of sight of the towers or construct intermediary towers to relay signals over hills, he said to the Times Herald.
Part of the problem, Cool said, is many established providers prefer to own the towers, transceivers and other equipment, as opposed to leasing a government-owned system.
But maybe the best way to go isn’t from a large firm, Cool said to the Times Herald. “We have a local start-up that is interested in this,” he told the Herald, adding officials were hoping to spur local businesses to handle the system.
The project still requires several towers to be built to complete the 12 tower system. The sites in various stages of construction are in Angelica, Alma Hill, Rushford, Grove and Bolivar. The footings for the Alma Hill tower are just being poured while the Angelica site may need to wait for clearance after native american artifacts were discovered on the site, the Times Herald reported. All of the sites are county owned and part of the public safety radio system.
A county official said there remains some funding from the 2013 Connect NY Broadband Program that contributed $800,000 in state funds and $200,000 in county backing. The funds were earmarked for intermediary towers. But decisions on the number and location of such towers will wait until a last-mile provider is hired, according to the Times Herald.