This is the fifth update on the Connect NY Broadband project for Tompkins and Cayuga Counties. I'm not calling it "quarterly" any more since it's averaging every 4 months or so...
This is the fourth quarterly update on the Connect NY Broadband project for Tompkins and Cayuga Counties. The project is about 85% complete. We are waiting on a State reimbursement for the work completed so far. The final build phase will take about 4 months once that arrives.
This is the third quarterly update on the Connect NY Broadband project for Tompkins and Cayuga Counties.
This is the second quarterly update on Clarity Connect's ConnectNY Broadband project for Tompkins and Cayuga Counties.
In the last update we were waiting on the first State reimbursement to continue project work. The general process is: We place an order with a supplier or contractor, the product or service is delivered or performed, we pay for it. Nominally once a quarter we are allowed to submit for reimbursement after undergoing an outside audit for the reimbursement request.
It took just over 5 months after submission for the first reimbursement to be received. Nominally the State will reimburse within about 3 months once the outside audit has been completed. But there are a number of agencies that have to sign off before the reimbursement can be delivered so the process is complicated...and this is the first time for this particular program. Future reimbursements should go more quickly.
The good news is, infrastructure building has recommenced. In the next 4 months we're expecting about 75% of the close-to-6000 unserved households should have service available. The remaining households will be awaiting the next State reimbursement but should have service available in about 9 months. This is a slower roll-out than previously anticipated because our contractors mostly had to take other jobs while we waited on State funding to come through. They are fitting us in where they can, but it does slow the project down quite a bit.
A significant factor in the order of infrastructure construction will still be the density of people who have pre-signed up for service. The poles that are activated first will be those that have the most customer demand so it's important to sign up (and get other households in your community to sign up) for service as soon as possible.
And, as before, customers that have pre-signed up for service will be contacted for installation once the infrastructure serving their area has been installed, activated, and tested. This note, and any future updates, will be posted on our website as they become available. If you have questions, please send them to ConnectNY@clarityconnect.com.
This is a good place to thank all of the people and organizations who have helped make this project possible…including, but not exclusively, all of the involved Towns as well as the Tompkins and Cayuga County governments. They have been critical to moving this forward as quickly as possible.
The Connect NY Broadband Grant Program for New York State was announced at the end of August, 2012 to bring service to residents of New York State who had little or no access to high speed Internet, presumably because potential service providers were unable to justify capital costs to build out infrastructure in these areas.
Applications were due Oct. 8th, 2012 and awards were announced on March 6th, 2013. Clarity won a $2.2 million award to build out facilities to serve 95% of currently unserved residents for 9 towns in Tompkins and Cayuga County (Ulysses, Newfield, Danby, Groton, Lansing, Genoa, Venice, Scipio, and Niles) for a project size of nearly $3 million. The grant is funding about 75% of the buildout.
The preliminary grant contract was signed with the State in Sept. 2013 to begin the grant contract process. The final grant contract was executed in Sept. 2014. Much of the preliminary infrastructure is in place or has been purchased for the project. Clarity has spent $1.5 million to date and is awaiting State reimbursement for $1.1 million in funds so we can continue the build out. The reimbursement process can legitimately take a while because it requires an outside audit of purchase orders, invoices, shipping/receiving logs, and payment information-all before it goes to the State for its own reviews by multiple agencies for fiscal audits, project goals, and State targets.
Enfield, Caroline, Ledyard, Sempronius, and Summerhill Townships were largely left out of the grant by the State due to cost. However, Enfield was fully restored while Caroline was partially restored (covering 40 to 50% of unserved households) by re-engineering the project and with the addition of some outside contributions. Additional funds were obtained to serve 90%+ of Ledyard, Summerhill and Sempronius. For Caroline, the Town has secured potential funding of about $216K in additional funds but final quotes for the work required in that Town have come in at $376K, putting the final part of the Caroline expansion on hold until decisions can be made on how to proceed. It is expected there will be further State programs going forward so there is likely to be an eventual solution.
The overall project size, if all 5 of the additional towns are included, is expected to be close to $4 million.
The primary project relies on telephone pole style "towers" and the use of 3 EMS towers in Cayuga County, 2 in Tompkins County, one brand new tower (already constructed, in Enfield), and one reconstructed tower (already completed, in Newfield). The total project uses 60 telephone pole style towers while the Connect NY grant-funded portion uses 38 poles.
We expect to have all funded poles in place within 10 weeks of getting the reimbursement from the State for already expended funds; we're expecting to get those funds in soon. Once up, we can activate about 2 poles a week over the course of 30 weeks. The poles that are activated first will be those that have the most customer demand so it's important to sign up, and get households in your community to sign up, for service as soon as possible.
Customers that have pre-signed up for service will be contacted for installation once the infrastructure serving their area has been installed, activated, and tested. This note, and any future updates, will be posted on our website as they become available, including when the State reimbursement is received and work can re-commense. If you have questions, please send them to ConnectNY@clarityconnect.com.
Broadband Committee Asks People to Register Interest in Broadband Service
Tompkins County's Special Committee on Broadband is asking people to contact the County's partner in extending high-speed Internet service, Clarity Connect, to indicate their interest in receiving broadband service.
New York State last month awarded a $2.2 million grant, in response to a coordinated application filed by Clarity Connect that will extend broadband service to many unserved communities in Tompkins and Cayuga Counties.
The Committee notes that the best way to register interest in receiving broadband service, or improved service, through this project is to visit the Clarity Connect web site at www.clarityconnect.com and complete an online inquiry form. Click on the blue box labeled "Contact Me About Wireless Internet Connection."
Anyone unable to complete the online form may contact Clarity Connect by phone at 607-257-8268.
Neighborhoods that register high levels of interest are most likely to see service arrive the soonest.
"Many people have been calling and e-mailing me with questions regarding the broadband project for which we recently received grant funding," says Legislator Pat Pryor, Chair of the Broadband Committee. "It's great to see the level of interest in extended broadband Internet access and very rewarding to me to know that so many residents of Tompkins County will benefit from this project."
Contact: Patricia Pryor, Chair, Special Committee on Broadband, 319-0507; or David McKenna, Vice Chair, 564-7243.