Appalachian Regional Commision Announces Power Grant Award to Support Broadband in Southern Tier Region

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Communities in Allegany, Cattaraugus and Chautauqua Counties
to Benefit from Wireless Broadband Project

Article Contributed by
County Executive
George M. Borrello

As a part of the 2019 Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER) Initiative, Southern Tier West Regional Planning and Development Board (STW) in Salamanca, N.Y. received $395,000 for the Southwest NY Wireless Broadband project.

This project will enable delivery of effective capacity and cost competitive Wi-Fi broadband service to underserved and unserved areas of eight rural communities in Allegany, Cattaraugus and Chautauqua Counties. This $784,000 project, which consists of grant funding, public and private investment, will include the purchase and installation of fixed wireless broadband equipment and backhaul fiber.

STW is collaborating with two internet providers to close the high-speed coverage gap, which will improve access to telehealth, business resources, and economic opportunity. The installation of new antennas on eight existing cell towers and the construction of a new tower will provide broadband access to 4,195 residences, 437 small business locations, 87 farms and 18 tourist destinations throughout the region.

Richard Zink, Southern Tier West’s Director, said, “This project looks to provide needed broadband infrastructure to areas not covered in our three-county area of Southwestern New York State. There are large areas within our region left with Satellite internet as their only option. In order for this region to attract new sources of job creating investment it must be a place with the latest technology.”

In Chautauqua County, the County contributed $150,000 to assist with this project. Its communities that will directly benefit from this wireless broadband project include: Cherry Creek; Hanover, Villenova; and the Southern Jamestown area, which covers Busti, Kiantone and Carroll.

“Access to high-speed internet is absolutely essential to economic growth and our quality of life,” said George Borrello, Chautauqua County Executive and board member of STW. “I am proud to have worked with Southern Tier West, DFT as well Cattaraugus and Allegany Counties to champion this effort to bring broadband access to thousands in the region.”