Effort underway to push broadband internet into rural Chemung County town

TOWN OF BALDWIN, N.Y. (18 NEWS) - Internet connectivity can be an issue in some areas of the Twin Tiers, but an internet provider will soon expand its broadband services into the Town of Baldwin. It aims to connect those residents to the world wide web.

"Baldwin got some good news tonight that Haefele was able to receive a phase three grant from New York State," Michael Krusen, the Chemung County Deputy Executive, said. "They'll be building broadband out into the community and several of the areas."

The grant will soon modernize the town's communications infrastructure. The project will be spearheaded by internet and cable company, Haefele.

It's a boon, Krusen said for a community that like other rural towns have sorely lacked.

"It's so important in today's world that we have that kind of global connectedness to also," Krusen explained, "not just for people to stay connected to business and enterprise, but also for kids that are in school"

Haefele and the Town will first need to reach a franchise agreement before laying down fiber optic cables. 

It wouldn't cost the town a penny because of the grants.

"It sounds like a good deal, no cost to the town," Russell Purvis, the Baldwin Town Supervisor, said. "A lot of people are looking forward to having something like that in a rural area like this."

A company representative said lines will first be placed in the hamlet of North Chemung, then extend to the outer areas. He added that the company can't guarantee service to every home.

"Full coverage is not a reality in most of the towns we've been in for 30 years, even at this point," Jeff Golden, the marketing and communications manager for Haefele, said. "Let alone a town we're just building out as part of this."

It's a concern for the town supervisor.

"It would be nice if everybody could get it, but I could understand their reasoning why they can't do- where they got to four or five miles out for just one place," Purvis said. "But I mean you can't expect everything."

So far, it's a stepping stone for rural broadband in the county.

"We're committed to it, we'll continue to work with state government and more and more, everyday, every year," Krusen said, "we'll have more and more exposure to our residents to make sure they have broadband service."

The Town will hold a public hearing on March 14, allowing the public to share their thoughts. It will be at the Baldwin Town Hall at 6 p.m.

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