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Onondaga County Begins to Address Digital Divide in Rural Areas

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Matt Hassan WAER News
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Onondaga County is taking steps to diagnose and address the digital divide in its rural areas. County Executive Ryan McMahon visited Fabius Friday, where he says the lack of high-speed internet access prevents people from starting businesses or buying houses there and in other areas.

 

He says thecounty is setting aside $11 to 15 million to address the problem. McMahon says it’s shocking how many towns in the county are affected.

“In our county, we have streets and areas in the town of Onondaga, Fabius, Lafayette, Tully, Elbridge, Otisco, Spafford, Skaneateles, Camillus that just don’t even have the ability to get high speed internet. It’s insane,” said McMahon.

McMahon adds the first step is identifying the households and parts of the county that have little to no internet access.  He says they’re rolling out a survey to help determine the county’s next move.

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Credit Matt Hassan WAER News
The first page of the Home Internet Survey

  

“How bad is it in most cases? Or do you even have it at all? That’s where we are today. Once we get this survey done, we will then work with the data and work with our partners and we will put in municipal infrastructure that will then by there to solve this problem once and for all,” said McMahon

The survey is available online at cny.internet.com.  But, the county is working with libraries and community centers to make and distribute hard copies to people without internet access.  Surveys can also be delivered by calling (315) 412-5966.