How New York hopes to get better broadband to the North Country

WESTPORT, N.Y. (WCAX) Many businesses rely on broadband access but it's not an option for a lot of folks in New York's North Country. Our Kelly O'Brien learned how the state is working with local companies to try to bring you better broadband.

"I know there are a lot of places in the North Country that still don't have broadband," said Jim Forcier of Westelcom and Chazy Westport Communications.

Rural is cool-- that's the motto for Westelcom and Chazy Westport Communications in Westport.

But the good often comes with the bad-- a lack of high-speed internet access. It's a problem both the governor and local leaders understand.

"We need it for health, for safety and for our economy. And to get people to come and live here in the North Country, we need to have broadband and we need to have cell coverage," said Sen. Betty Little, R-Queensbury.

"Just absolutely critical for the state and I think everyone gets that, but it comes down to money," Forcier said.

The communications company worked with the state's broadband office to secure grant money to bring more high-speed internet to the region. It received $2.8 million and it paved the way for 115 miles of fiber cable to local businesses and homes.

Forcier says without that grant money it would take another 10 or 20 years to get fiber.

This company knows communications, just look at its telephone museum. They know the technology is ever changing and that's why they are happy that the state is working with local providers to make sure everyone has the same high-speed advantage.

"It could be 20 years before you actually get that money back," Forcier said. "So with the grant incentives, it makes it more feasible for us to be able to get a project done and get broadband out to the rural areas."

So what's next? The company hopes to apply for another round of grant money so they can provide even more broadband to the region.