Erie County Legislature takes another look at countywide Internet study

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The Erie County Legislature unanimously approved a resolution calling on the county to revisit the feasibility of setting up countywide Internet. The action was based on a study from 2017 showing the “digital divide” between the haves and have-nots.

“It also showed that the Internet speeds and service was very slow which, in turn, hurts education, job opportunities, services for people. That basically hurts the economy,” said Legislator Tim Meyers, a Democrat from Cheektowaga.

The resolution passed unanimously.

The study found more than 10 companies provide Internet service to business and residential customers. Charter Spectrum was the dominant provider and Verizon’s Fios a distant second.

Verizon has made it clear – they have no plans to expand Fios in Western New York.

The New York State Public Service Commission has ordered Spectrum to leave the state because it is not holding up its end of a service agreement.

Meyers introduced the Internet measure.

“It is something that needs to be done. We have identified it is the slowest in the country, just about, so this has to happen,” said Meyers.

How would the county build out its Internet network?

Meyers explained the cables could follow infrastructure, such as street construction, and sewer and water lines.

“We would like to see this treated like a utility. This is a part of everything like a phone line, a water line, basically any project. We would like to see this automatically going in.”

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