St. Lawrence County uses survey to get handle on broadband problem

St. Lawrence County internet access

COLTON, N.Y. (WWNY) - St. Lawrence County is taking stock of internet connectivity and looking for feedback to help get more people online.

Last year the Cole children had to use their phone’s Wi-Fi hotspot to do homework. Since then, they’ve moved. But still no internet service.

Stacie Cole, Colton resident: “We were hopeful that we would be able to get some kind of Internet,” their mom, Stacie Cole, said, “but still nothing.”

So, they’re back to using a hotspot. Service is sketchy.

That’s why Stacie jumped at the chance to fill out a broadband Internet survey from St. Lawrence County.

“I wanted to make sure that I was heard,” she said.

County planners say that’s the point. They want to hear from as many people as possible. So far, they’ve racked up 1,350 responses to the survey.

There’s a speed test included that can tell if your Internet has broadband speed.

“The goal is to identify where the deficiencies are,” planning director Jason Pfotenhauer said. “And if we can pinpoint those deficiencies, then we can better target funding that can help improve the broadband in that area.”

At last count, the survey had identified 140 homes and 12 businesses that have no or limited Internet service. One is St. Lawrence Recreation.

“It makes it really, really tough to -- well it makes it real tough to conduct business,” said Shaun Prentice, who owns St. Lawrence Recreation. “I mean, we got to do something.”

An entire five-mile stretch of State Route 37, where Prentice’s business is at one end, lacks broadband internet service.

Another example: at one spot on State Route 68, a main highway, one internet provider ends their service a half mile one way, another provider ends theirs a half mile the other.

The survey will run through April 30. For those lacking internet service, it can be filled out on a smartphone or by calling the county planning office at 315-379-2292.

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