Schumer praises Orleans, Niagara for moving forward with broadband projects

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 5 August 2021 at 2:44 pm

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer has issued a statement today, praising efforts in Orleans and Niagara to move forward with broadband internet projects.

“After thousands of rural families in Niagara and Orleans struggled for years to secure broadband service, I was proud to secure the breakthrough funding in the American Rescue Plan needed by the counties to connect them to 21st century broadband,” Schumer said. “I’ll continue to fight for broadband funding until every home and business in New York has access.”

The Orleans County Legislature last week voted unanimously to accept a $3,608,435 bid to make high-speed internet available for the current 1,351 address points that can’t connect to the service.

The Niagara County Legislature on Tuesday accepted a $4,286,325 bid to make high-speed internet in unserved areas of the county.

Both counties selected the proposal from RTO Wireless of Wellesley, Mass.

In Orleans, RTO will co-locate their technology on existing county-owned communication towers. Those sites include at the Emergency Management Office on West County House Road in Albion, Route 31A in Clarendon, Maple Ridge Road in Medina, Route 31 in Albion next to Public Safety Building, West Avenue in Lyndonville, Route 237 in Kendall, Route 237 in Holley by the water tank.

Orleans will use some of its American Rescue Plan funds for the project. The Orleans County Legislature in June accepted $3,918,951 from U.S. Department of Treasury, the first half of the American Rescue Plan Act funds for Orleans.

The county will use some of those funds for the broadband project, but also will be seeking other federal grants, including to help some of the homeowners with the hook-up costs for connecting to the technology.

Niagara also is seeking other state and federal funds to help fund the project.