Stefanik, Local Leaders Brainstorm Over BroadbandPosted: Updated:
Congresswoman Elise Stefanik was in Watertown Thursday for a round table discussion about improving Internet connectivity in the north country.
The meeting was basically an overview of what's been done and what could be done next to expand Internet.
"It really is important to make sure that the north country is connected to the 21st century economy. It's something that small businesses want; students want," said Stefanik (R. - 21st District).
The discussion centered on what's being done and what can be done to improve access to Internet.
"It's a way for me to share information about federal opportunities, particularly grants, when it's related to broadband infrastructure," said Stefanik.
The Development Authority of the North Country has been expanding the network since 2004.
Officials from the organization spoke about their progress and fielded questions on how the network can be used.
Stefanik also discussed the need to bring broadband to rural and remote areas.
Stephen Todd, superintendent for Jeff-Lewis BOCES, says new teaching models often use Internet based exercises, and for students who have poor Internet access, doing their work is more difficult.
"If we want our kids to have all of the opportunities that will allow them to be successful, I think that's one of the resources we need to focus on," he said.
Development Authority officials say it will take a collaborative effort among the north country's leaders to obtain better Internet.
It's a sentiment that Todd echoes.
"We're all gonna have to partner, I think, to find the resources and find the opportunities to solve this problem together," said Todd.
Congresswoman Stefanik says broadband is an economic issue, a jobs issue, and an agricultural issue for the north country.