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Public meeting scheduled to present recommendations from Erie County broadband internet study

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Wed, Mar 15th 2017 06:30 pm

Study began in May; data will help improve broadband service to underserved residents

Recommendations compiled from CrowdFiber survey on broadband usage to be presented

Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz has announced a public meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 22, at the Erie County Fire Training Academy to present recommendations from Erie County's broadband internet study, which began in December 2016.

The study featured an online broadband survey campaign for individuals and businesses that collected important information on their broadband experience, speed and level of service.

Recommendations from the study and the concurrent CrowdFiber campaign, which assessed both responses on services currently available, and those that respondents would like to see, will be discussed. The insights gained will provide local officials with the information necessary to assess broadband needs across the county, and develop broadband improvement plans and policies countywide.

"I look forward to seeing the results of the study, which I authorized as a way to hear from residents and businesses across Erie County about their broadband experiences, both good and bad. In 2017, access to reliable, high-speed broadband service is imperative for success no matter what field you are working in, but there are gaps and weak spots in broadband service countywide," Poloncarz said. "Now we have heard from the public and the business community and we will take their comments, perspectives and concerns into consideration as we work to bring steady and reliable high-speed broadband to more areas, especially the traditionally underserved areas, of the county."

Diminished or nonexistent high-speed broadband access has educational, economic and community impacts. In order to gather as much information as possible, the study and campaign allowed residents without internet access at home to take the survey at their local library. The survey was also distributed through BOCES.

Erie County Legislator Patrick Burke (7th District) added, "Since entering office, I have striven to increase the access, speed and affordability of broadband internet for residents of Erie County. The completion of this feasibility study arms us with the information we need to better understand the internet service gaps. But more importantly, it gives us a road-map to achieve our ultimate goal of providing 21st century internet capability for the people of Erie County."

The Erie County Fire Training Academy is located 3359 Broadway, Cheektowaga.

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