In an effort to improve broadband access in Jefferson County, county residents and businesses are asked to participate in a survey to help determine the needs and opportunities for broadband in the county. Jefferson County and the Development Authority of the North Country have partnered on a project designed to position the county to take advantage of opportunities that require critical broadband access and infrastructure.
Working with a contractor, ECC Technologies, the broadband campaign is a two-pronged effort. Contractors have already begun on-the-ground work to inventory and map broadband facilities in the county, including existing fiber and coaxial cabling and tower sites. The second part of the campaign is a survey of county residents and businesses to determine who has access to broadband and what people are paying or are willing to pay.
“Jefferson County still has geographic areas that are unserved and even more that are underserved in terms of broadband access,” said Jefferson County Deputy County Administrator Sarah Baldwin. “It’s important that all county residents complete the survey in order for us to get an accurate picture of where the needs are. This will provide us with the data we need to develop a plan to address those needs.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way many people use broadband. More people are working from home, more students are engaging in schoolwork from home, more people are shopping from their homes and even consulting with doctors via telemedicine. This may have changed the way you use broadband and be putting a strain on your service.
“The Development Authority is committed to expanding access to broadband in the North Country and we are happy to be working with Jefferson County to get a more detailed picture of where the needs are,” said Development Authority Executive Director Carl Farone, Jr. “The data generated through this project will also help us collectively determine the best way to ensure the needs of Jefferson County residents are met.”
The broadband survey is tailored to ask questions pertinent to homes and businesses both with and without access to broadband. Respondents will need to enter an address and indicate whether it is for a home or business and will proceed to a survey designed to collect information on the demand for services unique to their location. Seasonal residents taking the survey must use their Jefferson County address. The address is an important piece of information because it will help identify where the greatest needs are in the county, but it will not be released to any third party. Aggregated results will be available at the conclusion of the project.
“Even if residents are satisfied with their broadband access, choices and costs, we still encourage them to take the survey so we get a more complete picture of the status of broadband in our county,” Baldwin said.
You can take the survey from any computer or mobile device at this link: www.jeffersoncountybroadband.com. If you do not have internet access, public access to a computer may be available at your local library; contact them first, to check on current hours and restrictions. Computer access is available at Flower Memorial Library in Watertown during operating hours. Check www.flowermemoriallibrary.org for times and days of operation.
Results of this project will create data that will be used to pursue grant funding to help improve broadband access in unserved and underserved areas of Jefferson County. For more information, contact the Jefferson County Planning Department at 315-785-3144.