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Niagara-Orleans Regional Alliance announces telecommunications vendors to deliver rural broadband network

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Wed, Aug 5th 2015 04:40 pm

Seneca Solutions, Resolute Partners chosen to advance broadband initiative

The legislatures of Niagara and Orleans counties have formally approved a memorandum of understanding with vendors to develop a rural broadband network with the goal of making high-speed Internet access available in every household. The two counties, under the banner of the Niagara-Orleans Regional Alliance (NORA), have entered into an MOU with the team of Seneca Solutions and Resolute Partners. These vendors will work closely with previously retained project managers at Wendel to obtain grant funding and then design, install, operate and maintain the rural broadband network.

The framework provided in the MOU will help position the NORA broadband initiative for funding from the New NY Broadband Program, an unprecedented $500 million broadband access grant program included in the 2015-16 state budget.

County leaders, while maintaining regular contact with the state broadband program office, are targeting this funding source as a game-changer in making the build-out of a new network possible. The ultimate goal is to eliminate all coverage gaps and make service available to 100 percent of households in the two-county region.

The MOU outlines high-level responsibilities of the counties, which include making previous studies and reports available, ensuring access to county infrastructure to build out the network, identifying funding opportunities and grantwriting, and helping with any necessary permits.

The Seneca Solutions/Resolute Partners team will be responsible for designing a broadband solution to meet the counties' needs; developing plans for operations, maintenance, sales and marketing; and providing all technical expertise necessary to implement the project.

Niagara County Legislator David Godfrey said, "In today's world, high-speed Internet access is a necessity, just as electricity and other utilities have become necessities. We owe it to our residents in rural areas to not leave them behind. Quality Internet access in the home is critical to business operations, education, and an infinite number of personal activities. Seneca Solutions and Resolute Partners will design and implement a system that will ensure these opportunities are available to everyone."

Orleans County Legislator Lynne Johnson said, "We have spent a lot of time studying the need for this project and identifying gaps in broadband Internet coverage. Choosing who we work with to tackle this problem and make access possible for everyone was our most important decision. Seneca Solutions and Resolute Partners have the technical expertise to deliver exactly what we are looking for. Our team has been in discussions with them for a number of months, we've seen what they were able to accomplish in creating a network on the Cattaraugus Territory, and we are pleased to announce them as the right partners for advancing our NORA project."

William Ross, chairman of the Niagara County Legislature, said, "Rural broadband is a critical tool for leveling the field for all of our residents. Access to reliable high-speed Internet service will ensure our youth have the opportunity to compete and succeed. The importance of this project cannot be overstated."

David Callard, chairman of the Orleans County Legislature, said, "We are doing our homework, we are meeting with state officials and industry leaders, we are attending broadband conferences - we are ready to take the next step in serving our residents. Helping to expand rural broadband access will be one of the most innovative and collaborative projects our county has undertaken. Our MOU with these private partners moves the broadband initiative forward in a big way."

"On behalf of the Seneca Nation of Indians, Seneca Solutions, in close cooperation with Resolute Partners, is very proud to support an extensive broadband effort in Niagara and Orleans counties. This network will bring much-needed affordable broadband and Internet services to thousands of homes and businesses that are either totally unserved or underserved," Seneca Solutions President Mark Baines said.

"Resolute Partners is pleased to have the opportunity to leverage almost two decades of experience in wired and wireless networks to help bring broadband to these New York residents," Resolute CEO Michael Blanco said. "The Seneca Solutions and Resolute team have a history of successful broadband projects and look forward to utilizing the experience and technology developed and deployed for the Seneca Nation on Cattaraugus Territory."

Niagara and Orleans counties retained Wendel for project management services earlier this summer. The Amherst-based engineering firm will provide oversight for NORA as the project moves through a planned pilot phase and later into full implementation.

Seneca Solutions (www.Seneca-Solutions.com) is a tribally owned, Native American 8(a) Small Disadvantaged Business located on the Cattaraugus Territory of the Seneca Nation of Indians outside of Buffalo. Seneca Solutions is an experienced government contractor with strong credentials and past performance in broadband construction, information technology and construction management with the management expertise and resources to oversee large programs.

Resolute Partners (www.Resolutepartners.com), established in 1997, engineers, installs, operates and maintains a complete range of Internet access and fixed wireless communications solutions for health care, government and commercial enterprises around the world, including hospitals, education facilities, military bases and office parks - all designed to offer an enhanced experience for end users, improve operating efficiencies, reduce costs and create new business opportunities for customers.

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