BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)–City lawmakers are taking steps to close the “digital divide”– separating those with access to high speed Internet from those without it.
The Common Council took up a measure Tuesday to set up the framework, including a fee schedule, for laying fiber optic cables in the city–specifically along public right-of-ways and underground.
Sean Meegan, speaking for one of the companies trying to set up shop for its fiber optics operation laid it out to the Council’s Legislation Committee–high speed Internet through fiber optic lines can be a game changer.
“Fiber optic infrastructure is a necessary catalyst for economic development, 5G deployments, corporate headquarters, data centers, and it creates numerous construction jobs.”
Meegan, an executive for Pioneer Consulting, spoke on behalf of Crosslake Fibre USA which is trying to build a high speed line from Toronto to Buffalo, and on to New York City. But after 15 months of trying build in Buffalo the Toronto based company has had no success–to Buffalo’s detriment.
“Buffalo’s economic growth is suffering from a lengthy period where no new competitive companies are able to construct facilities in the city.”
Buffalo’s Law Department, Public Works, and the Director of Telecommunications are working on a template for regulating the placement of fiber optics lines, and time seems to be of the essence.
DPW Commissioner Michael Finn told council members there are two new companies that want to bring their business into the city, and others who already have contracts with the city.
“Our hope is that this item is approved in such a fashion that it will allow us to do business with the new companies and also renew the existing companies when their licenses expire.”
Council President Darius Pridgen said this legislative effort is about the setting up a framework for high speed digital, and promoting competition.
“There has been so many requests in our office for alternatives to Spectrum, for alternative ways to connect to the Internet. So I think it opens up a lot of possibilities.”
But Buffalo residents who might be looking forward to someone finally giving Spectrum–and their high prices–a run for their money, the broadband template is not expected to bring down Internet bills in the immediate future.
The new high speed Internet lines would be for business use, not residential. Councilmembers tabled the measure, but expect a vote soon.