February 23, 2019

Verizon flocks to town

Broadband being stretched across Cortland County

Joe McIntyre/staff photographer

Verizon bucket trucks work Dec. 21 on Homer Avenue in Cortland to extend broadband service across much of Cortland County.

Verizon trucks … Verizon trucks everywhere. They were on Port Watson Street in Cortland this week.

Over the past several weeks, an increase in Verizon utility trucks has been noticed in the city of Cortland, in Solon, in Freetown, Truxton and Scott.

“We are building out our network in various communities as part of our participation in the New NY Broadband Program,” wrote David Weissmann, public relations manager for the North East Market for Verizon, in an email. “At this time, we aren’t ready to announce the completion of any construction projects or that any areas can order service. We will provide those details at the appropriate time.”

Verizon was awarded more than $85 million in early 2018 as a part of the Phase 3 of the state’s Broadband Program Office s New NY Broadband Service Expansion project, according to the state Public Service Commission. “With the funding, Verizon is expanding its 100 Mbps broadband service to more than 18,000 locations upstate, including portions of Cortland County,” the commission wrote in an email.

In Cortland County, 296 locations are planned to be upgraded with the broadband, from Freetown to Scott and Virgil and Truxton. The total cost for the projects is just over $3.5 million.

The expansion will offer broadband, or internet, through Verizon as opposed to Spectrum which offers internet, cable and phone service.

According to a Spectrum availability map, the company provides access to the areas being equipped with the Verizon broadband.

Also, in July, the state Public Service Commission approved a joint proposal filed by Verizon, department staff, the Communications Workers of America and a leading consumer advocacy group which among other things, commits Verizon to expand broadband service to up to 20,000 additional households in upstate areas in proximity to those areas for which it received Broadband Program Office funding, according to the state Public Service Commission.

The agreement also requires Verizon to expand its fiber network by another 12,000 households in other areas of upstate New York, the Hudson Valley and on Long Island.

Verizon’s deadline for completion of the Broadband Program Office projects is 2020, although many communities will be complete before that, according to the commission.

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