Residents and businesses in New York’s Southern Tier and Central New York regions have been screaming for better, more affordable internet service for years. The two regions, which have been well documented as being among state’s most broadband-unserved and -underserved, are finally getting some deserved attention. In the fall, Southern Tier 8 Regional Board announced “Project Connect,” an ambitious eight-county, multi-year initiative to connect every address to high-speed broadband. Now, Southern Tier 8 is holding the first-ever Upstate Rural Broadband Conference, June 28th at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Binghamton, New York. The daylong conference will bring national and state, and regional leaders together to identify actionable ways to speed-up the deployment of high-speed networks.
“The Upstate Rural Broadband Conference is Central New York and the Southern Tier’s first true gathering that will tackle how local communities can expand high-speed broadband access in unserved and underserved parts of the state,” said Jen Gregory, Executive Director, Southern Tier 8 Regional Board.
Over 20 speakers from Washington, Albany, and the region will share their insights on how to get networks built, whom to partner with, how to fund high-speed broadband expansion, and the advocacy efforts needed to make it all happen.
“We’ll look at expanding fiber networks, fixed wireless internet, 5G networks, and the development of Smart Cities. Attendees will also learn the basics of how to get started, legal requirements, and will hear the trials and tribulations of those on the national scene who were the early broadband pioneers,” explained Gregory who hinted that there will be a major announcement during the conference.
Keynoting the Upstate Rural Broadband Conference are Curtis Hansen, Program Manager for Broadband, Appalachian Regional Commission and Gary Bolton, CEO, Fiber Broadband Association. Hansen will kick off the conference discussing the unprecedented investment in the Southern Tier and Bolton will deliver an overview of the fiber industry during lunchtime. Other panels will include:
- First Steps in Broadband Planning
- How to Get High-Speed Broadband into Rural Communities
- Wireless, Smart Cities, and Utility Poles
Topics also include:
- Legal considerations
- How to finance the construction of networks
- Economic development and broadband
- Precision agriculture in New York State
Breakfast and lunch will be served. A happy hour is planned after the conference at the DoubleTree.
The Upstate Rural Broadband Conference is supported by the Regional Broadband Collaborative, Appalachian Regional Commission and the New York State Department of State. The conference is sponsored by Mears and Harrison Edwards.