Legislature expects fiber project complete by September
YATES COUNTY--Officials estimate construction on the Yates County fiber network will be completed this fall, although parts of it may be online as early as this spring.
This update was presented to the board Monday, Jan. 11 by members of the Southern Tier Network (STN) and ECC Technologies following the regular meeting of the legislature. ECC Director of Broadband Services Andy Lukasiewicz claimed they are expecting construction to be completed on schedule in September, adding some of the dark fiber will be lit and in use by April if all goes according to plan.
The fiber network is intended to allow Internet providers in the network to bring their services to area businesses, who can then link with other businesses on the network. Dark fiber is a type of fiber where several service providers are able to lease fiber strands in one sheath to provide customers with network access. The fiber ring will not only provide much faster service to businesses, but it will let many different service providers use and lease the fiber at once and will not be limited to only one provider. Since the network is organized in a ring, if one part of the fiber goes down, it will not affect service in other parts of the network. While the initial backbone fiber will go to benefit anchor institutions such as schools and hospitals, officials have also claimed there is a future possibility Internet providers could use it for residential access as well.
Lukasiewicz said Phase I of the project includes building fiber from Keuka Park to Penn Yan, then from Penn Yan to Dresden and from Dresden to Geneva. Phase II consists of building fiber down Route 14 to Watkins Glen, which would then connect STN to the Axcess Ontario network to the north of Yates County. Lukasiewicz said this Route 14 line will also serve the many wineries who are located along that stretch of road. Phase III of the project will build a fiber line from Rushville to Penn Yan, as well as a branch from Dundee to connect with the Route 14 line.
Legislator Leslie Church expressed concerns with bringing broadband access to those who live in the more rural parts of the county, with Lukasiewicz adding Gov. Andrew Cuomo has listed it as one of his priorities to bring service to areas like this. Legislator Doug Paddock also said he always envisioned the county would apply for ongoing grants to expand access to the network once the fiber backbone was completed. Certain parts of the fiber network have already been built, with Lukasiewicz adding they began work on some isolated areas that required underground digs earlier while the weather was still good.
In other business:
• The legislature held a recognition ceremony for county employees during its regular meeting, honoring those who had achieved five, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30 and 45 years of service respectively. Former Yates County Clerk Julie Betts and Yates County Sheriff Ron Spike were both honored for 45 years.
• The legislature authorized a certificate of completion at the former Penn Yan Marine site, with Chairman Tim Dennis noting remedial work at the site has been completed.
• Tim Cutler was appointed as the newly created part-time temporary county planner. This is due to the pending resignation of current County Planner Shawna Bonshak. Cutler will serve in the capacity for a period not to exceed 90 days for $25 per hour, although legislators noted this period could also be extended if necessary.