Providing high-speed broadband to rural NY

By Kelly McCarthy

Providing high-speed broadband to rural NY

August 28, 2013 Updated Aug 29, 2013 at 1:10 AM EDT

Oneonta, NY (WBNG, Binghamton) More than 11,000 people in Otsego County are without access to high-speed internet, and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said she wants to see that change by the end of this year.

Gillibrand (D-NY) paid a visit to Hartwick College to talk about one of the proposals in the Farm Bill.

If the U.S. House passes the bill, it would give more than 60 rural communities in New York greater access to high-speed broadband internet.

Communities of 50,000 people or fewer could apply for a grant that pays up to 75 percent of the project to bring internet access to the town.

"And it really does effect our businesses' ability to grow," said Gillibrand, "So if you're a farmer producing dairy or growing apples you will have more markets available to you if you have access to the internet."

Gillibrand said she was visiting a farm in Batavia Wednesday morning that is without internet access.

"And the farmer said, 'You know, without access to the internet it's difficult to file taxes, to get information,'" Gillibrand said. "If we have immigration reform he wouldn't be able to do E-verify. So we really need access to the internet for all of our businesses to be engaged in commerce."

Hartwick College was chosen as a hosting site in the region and will hook up to the Ion Network in the next few weeks.

That will allow other lenders and internet providers to use their high-speed capabilities that were unable to access it before.