In an effort to improve broadband access in St. Lawrence County, county residents and businesses are asked to participate in a survey to help determine the needs and opportunities for broadband in the county. St. Lawrence County and the Development Authority of the North Country have partnered on a project designed to show where the unserved and underserved areas are in the county in terms of broadband access, and to use the data to develop an action plan to address those needs.
Working with a contractor, ECC Technologies, the broadband campaign is a two-pronged effort. Contractors have already begun on-the-ground work to inventory and map broadband facilities in the county, including existing fiber and coaxial cabling and tower sites. The second part of the campaign is a survey of county residents and businesses to determine who has access to broadband and what people are paying or are willing to pay.
“While improvement efforts have been made over the last few years, the County is certainly aware that there are still areas that are not yet served or are underserved with access to broadband,” said St. Lawrence County Administrator Ruth Doyle. “In order to develop the most accurate picture to identify where broadband access is needed and to be prepared for funding opportunities as they become available, the goal is to gather responses from as many county residents and businesses as possible. Thank you to all who assist the County in this effort.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way many people use broadband. More people are working from home, more students are engaging in schoolwork from home, more people are shopping from their homes and even consulting with doctors via telemedicine. These activities may have changed the way you use broadband and be putting a strain on your service.
“We have heard many, many times over the last few months from residents and local officials who are frustrated by a lack of adequate broadband access to meet their needs,” said Development Authority Executive Director Carl Farone Jr. “The Development Authority is committed to expanding access to broadband in the North Country but it’s critical that we have good data to support our efforts. The data generated through this project will help us collectively determine the best way to ensure the needs of St. Lawrence County residents are met.”
The broadband survey is tailored to ask questions pertinent to homes and businesses both with and without access to broadband. Respondents will need to enter an address and indicate whether it is for a home or business and will proceed to a survey designed to collect information on the demand for services unique to their location. Seasonal residents taking the survey must use their St. Lawrence County address. The address is an important piece of information because it will help identify where the greatest needs are in the county, but it will not be released to any third party. Only aggregated results will be available at the conclusion of the project.
You can take the survey from any computer or mobile device, including a smart phone, at this link: www.stlawrencecountybroadband.com. If you do not have internet access, public access to a computer may be available at your local library; contact them first, to check on current hours and restrictions. The St. Lawrence County Planning Office can also assist those without internet access, call 315-379-2292.
Results of this project will create data that will be used to pursue grant funding to help improve broadband access in unserved and underserved areas of St. Lawrence County.