Southern Tier 8 hosts 2nd annual Upstate Rural Broadband Conference

Senior Vice President of ConnectALL Josh Breitbart was the keynote speaker
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Published: Nov. 15, 2023 at 6:58 PM EST
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BINGHAMTON (WBNG) -- The second annual broadband conference hosted by the Southern Tier 8 Regional Board was held on Wednesday at the DoubleTree Hotel.

This daylong event was composed of 150 local, state and federal partners, planning directors, developers, nonprofits, local officials, internet service providers, or ISPs, and municipal utilities.

These various groups gathered to discuss issues surrounding broadband access for rural communities in upstate New York. During the pandemic, the Southern Tier 8 Regional Board noticed how these areas were impacted when it came to wireless internet.

Senior Vice President at ConnectALL Office at The Empire State Development Josh Breitbart said Governor Kathy Hochul created a $1 billion initiative to help with affordable access.

“There’s so many aspects to the digital divide,” said Breitbart. “Governor Hochul created the ConnectALL office to work with local government industry community stakeholders to address those aspects of the digital divide.”

The digital divide is the gap between people who have easy access to the internet and those who do not.

The rural broadband conference had a three-panel discussion with various company leaders to break down the importance of high-fiber broadband for everyday life, especially for individuals who work remotely.

ConnectALL is working daily to make sure that wireless internet isn’t an issue moving forward.