Senator Schumer works to bring better internet access to the North Country

Published: Aug. 22, 2021 at 3:29 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - Earlier this month, the Senate passed a $1 trillion bi-partisan infrastructure bill with $65 billion dedicated to closing the digital divide in America.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer stopped by the Town of Lowville this past week and explained the need for better internet access.

“This recent pandemic, its highlighted certain fault lines in our society. And one of them is the lack of broadband,” said Schumer.

A recent study by the Development Authority of the North Country showed that 49% of Lewis County residents do not have internet access that meets their needs, and 23% reported no internet access at all.

“And communities like Lewis County, which have to their credit, developed a detailed plan to bring fast, reliable, and affordable internet access to those without it, will be immediately able to tap into this record funding,” said Schumer

Senator Schumer says Lewis County still has to apply for the funding, but doesn’t foresee any issues since a lot of the legwork has already been done.

“What they’ve done, what DANC has done with Lewis County, is they’ve made sure they’ll be first in line to access funding,” said Schumer.

A representative from DANC says improving internet in the area is much needed.

“The digital divide as he [Schumer] has mentioned has been felt in rural communities like ours for several years,” said Laurie Marr, Director of Public Affairs at DANC.

Senator Schumer says DANC is working on similar studies with Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties to see where the needs are so they can tap into the bill’s funding, too.

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