Town breaks ground on broadband network

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A contractor the town of Dryden hired began laying down fiber cable Friday near Route 13 and Pinckney Road in Varna, where the town’s broadband internet service will be available in less than a month, the town supervisor said.

The project will cost $13 million to $15 million, said Deputy Town Supervisor Dan Lamb, and the town expects to recoup the cost between the ninth and tenth year of the service.

Faster and cheaper

The service will be operated by the town of Dryden and will cost homes $45 a month for 400 megabytes per second, speeds that Lamb said are faster – and cheaper – than what is offered by Spectrum and other internet service providers.

“It’s about half their price. We’re blowing them out of the water,” Lamb said. “We don’t have a profit motive. We’re not looking to get rich off this.”

Years in making

Lamb said that he and Supervisor Jason Leifer started talking about this plan around 2017 and hired a consultant to research its feasibility.

The project is receiving $2 million in federal funds, partly coming from the American Rescue Plan and some from the Appalachian Regional Commission. Lamb said the town was lucky to already have a plan for broadband in place before it received the money from the American Rescue Plan.

“One of the things people ask us the most is, when they’re going to get the service,” Leifer said. “They’re asking, ‘when is it coming my way’ even when they’re calling about something else.”

He said the village board of trustees will help promote the new service, which he said is unique to New York.

“The county that is furthest along is Madison County,” Leifer said. “ But they’re doing it with Empire Access. The town of Dryden is going to be in control of the entire service. We’re not building infrastructure and handing it off to someone to run. We’re having a company do the work for us but we’re offering the service.”

He said Spectrum does not provide universal service and doesn’t provide service as fast as the town plans to offer.

“The people own it, not a faceless corporation outside New York,” Leifer said.

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