Letter: Rural areas need better internet access – The Livingston County News

Assemblywoman Marjorie L. Byrnes,

I believe you, my Assemblywoman, and other New York State officials, ought to pay attention to constituent’s lack of basic utilities, who now may have the 2020 U.S. Census based upon internet connectivity. Phenomenal amounts of attention is invested into rural roads, whereas the access to the superhighway of the 21st Century’s internet, is minimal here. Maybe you can get town, county and NYS local attention?

Our internet infrastructure and wiring are based on telephone lines that are nearly a half century old, and weren’t designed for digital purposes. Using the Frontier Communications Internet Speed Test tool, we routinely depend upon the DSL phone lines, meagre 1.5 MBPS download and 0.2 MBPS upload bandwidth or less. We often depend upon heroic field technicians just to maintain this service connectivity, as we are several miles away from a fiber optic node in Dansville. Frontier isn’t interested in upgrading the half century old infrastructure with more distributed, fiber optic nodes, it seems. These low speeds are a small fraction of high-speed broadband. Fiber optic might be at least an order of magnitude greater than our rural service.

Over a decade ago, what was then Time Warner Cable, now Spectrum, refused to extend their service to our rural NYS road, despite over a dozen homes requesting it. Airborne TV and radio signals are pretty non-existent or inconsistent here in rural NYS. Some radio signals are on the same frequency, conflicting each other. We’re neglected.

As you know, constituents in the U.S. House’s 27th CD, have had no, and continue to lack a U.S. Congressional Representative. The FCC has new procedures to update rural broadband mapping, which require providers, like Frontier, to give granular broadband maps. Rural Americans depend upon internet broadband, and it is like the effort to electrify rural U.S. in the 1930s. That was 90 years ago, and the 2020s start in less than a month.

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We are pleased to have one local newspaper with reporters, the LCN. They can only do so much, and are in Geneseo. Other former local newspapers are regrettably owned by out of state, monopolies, that have ignored LTEs, locales, local reporters and local editors. Social media doesn’t replace journalism. It leads to increased polarization that pulls apart community spirit.

My sources have included the WAMC.org Northeast Reporters, Allison Dunne, Sept. 19’s and Lucas Willards’ Sept. 18 articles. Their reporting sounds true to our nearly three decades experience in the Town of Sparta (Livingston County), where town board members do have internet cable, so they may not see this as an urgent, infrastructure problem. We’re currently beyond cable; it’s urgent to increase connectivity now.


Harold R. Bauer




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