A $2.8 million project to upgrade broadband service for emergency call centers throughout the North Country, Capital Region and Mohawk Valley has been completed, state officials said on Nov. 1.
The modernization effort provides 1 Gigabit service–with the potential for faster service–and connects 27 public safety locations, including 13 public emergency county 911 sites. The project enhances public safety by strengthening communication systems, enhancing collaboration between centers, and facilitating the rapid exchange of valuable data.
Saratoga, Washington and Warren counties are listed in the 13-county network that is affected.
“Protecting New Yorkers is our number one priority and, when responding to an emergency, every second is crucial,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. “These broadband upgrades ensure that our first responders can connect, communicate and respond quickly when they are needed the most.”
Supported by a Round II Regional Economic Development Council award–and more than $550,000 in matching funds from the Development Authority of the North Country–each site is fully equipped with state-of-the-art fiber technology that provides a protected, closed circuit network and strengthens the lines of communication, state officials said.
“Providing emergency communications in these areas has been quite a task,” said Director Warren County Office of Emergency Services Brian A. LaFlure. “Without our friends at New York State and DANC, we could not have achieved the level of coverage we have. Also the ability to provide secure back-up 911 services between County PSAPs over this fiber system is so very important.”
The network is designed to allow the addition of new sites and services to the 13-county consortium, which was originally expected to consist of six counties in the North Country but now includes Warren, Saratoga, Washington, Schenectady, Albany and Rensselaer in the Capital Region and Fulton in the Mohawk Valley.
“The need for reliable internet connectivity goes well beyond the business community, to the daily–and potentially life-saving–interactions that we take for granted,” said Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Howard Zemsky. “New York state is realizing all the benefits of a modern communications infrastructure, and soon every community in the state will have access to these vital services.”
Telecom Division Manager of the Development Authority of the North Country David Wolf said public safety is “extremely important to the communities we serve and we are excited to be given the opportunity to construct a network that enhances the reliability and increases the capability of emergency service networks in New York state. We thank New York State for providing the grant to make this possible and look forward to working with the public emergency consortium to provide additional services as we move forward.”
In January, Cuomo launched the $500 million New NY Broadband Program, which he called the nation’s most ambitious plan for high-speed internet. In August, he unveiled more than $50 million in round I awards for unserved and underserved communities across the state, and also announced that together with the results of the Time Warner Cable – Charter Communications merger, 97 percent of New Yorkers would receive high-speed broadband.
The Broadband Program Office is currently soliciting Round II applications and is on track to meet the governor’s goal of broadband for all by the end of 2018, officials said.