Where local leadership is committed & pursuits relevant, planning and economic development leaders from 5 counties have organized a working group to directly assist expansion efforts in the most underserved communities. The purpose of this 5-county working group, referred to as the Regional Broadband Collaborative, is to assess current limitations, build community capacity, and align resources to position communities for expansion of broadband infrastructure, bringing improved internet access to Broome, Chenango, Cortland, Delaware, & Tompkins Counties.
Community Planning & Positioning...
a. Defining the need: With remote learning requirements of 2020, school districts were able to assess local needs and provide temporary solutions for students. Between August and December 2020, the Committee surveyed need in 55 school districts and 116 municipalities across the 5-county collaborative area. 22 school districts (40% response rate) and 12 municipalities (10% response rate) participated. Based on the data collected, the Committee identified several communities with substantial gaps in coverage (underserved).
b. Aligning Resources: The Regional Board staff is currently gathering community asset & anchor information that may support infrastructure expansions. The Regional Board anticipates federal investment opportunities with the Appalachian Regional Commission, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Economic Development Administration, and National Telecommunications and Information Administration, among others. The Regional Board will support community investment requests where eligibility requirements are met.
c. Building Resiliency: As current street level data is proprietary, several state infrastructure expansions are underway and the new FCC map review is anticipated, Southern Tier 8 plans to develop and host a public crowdsourcing website to maintain granular data regarding service speeds, consumer costs, use, and community interest across the 8-county region.