Madison County announces broadband campaign

The quality of the lives of the citizens and businesses within Madison County are always an important concern for the Madison County Board of Supervisors.  The Board of Supervisors announced in October the launch of a joint Broadband Availability and Adoption Campaign to determine needs and opportunities for broadband Internet growth in the region. The campaign, which consists of a short online survey and speed test, will target both residential and commercial addresses.

“We have long known that our county lags behind the more urban counties in the state when it comes to access to affordable, reliable broadband,” said Madison County Chairman John M. Becker. “Many people at their homes and businesses have poor to no access, and those that do have access report that broadband speeds are a real problem. This online survey will help us map and determine access levels and speeds throughout Madison County.”

“With more day-to-day functions moving online, whether it’s for business, education or personal use, we can’t afford to let our County fall behind,” said Eve Ann Shwartz, Hamilton town supervisor and chairwoman of the Public Utility Service Committee. “High-speed broadband has become nearly as essential as water and electricity for a good quality of life.  We’re using the BAAT Campaign to collect information on services residents have, need and where service is lacking. We can then use this data to come up with a plan to move forward and improve our broadband county-wide.”

The broadband survey is tailored to ask questions, based on response, pertinent to homes and businesses both with and without access. Respondents will need to enter an address and indicate whether it is for a home or business and will proceed to a survey designed to collect information on demand for services unique to their location.   Residents who also have an at-home business should take the business survey as well as the home survey.

“We know a lot of people are very unhappy with their service and the lack of options in the county,” Becker said. “With the results from this survey, the Madison County Board of Supervisors will have the tools they need to combat the broadband shortage in our community.  The data will be used to draw service providers into the area and apply for grants to assist in expanding service.”

Residents without Internet access at home can and are encouraged to take the survey.  They can go to their local library, enter in their home address, skip the speed test completely and answer the questions. The survey is also accessible via any mobile device.

Paper copies of the survey will be available at local libraries and town offices.  The county is also working with local school districts to send surveys home with students for families to complete and return.  The survey can be accessed at madisonbroadband.com, and the county has provided hard copies to local libraries, town offices and schools.

Madison County is hoping to reach as many residents as possible before the campaign ends Dec. 31. For more information, visit madisoncounty.ny.gov.

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