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Lexington unable to compete for broadband money

Mar 01, 2016 7:00 am

Michael Ryan is reporting in the Windham Journal round one of the New York Broadband Program's application process was announced in January, and after much anticipation, the town of Lexington will not even be able to submit an application. The news was "crushing," Lexington Broadband Initiative co-chairman Bonnie Blader said. The town was hoping to secure the funding needed to modernize its cell phone, internet and cable services. Lexington is one of many rural areas statewide with persistent dead zones. A community pep rally was held last summer to draw attention to the issue. Partnerships were formed between the town, Greene County and the Margaretville Telephone Company in furtherance of the initiative. However, instead of giving more attention to counties with the greatest need, such as Greene and Columbia, state officials are now putting more emphasis on densely populated urban areas. Blader said, “We’ve been at this for over a year and it was hard, I’m not going to kid you. It blind-sided everybody here, waiting for the round one rollout, to find out we wouldn’t even be able to put in an application." Blader and town supervisor John Berger expressed their dissatisfaction to state Sen. George Amedore at a meeting in Albany two weeks ago. “Having access to modern broadband is vital to the future of Lexington. We talked about maybe looking into other avenues Lexington could take or maybe finding some way to get the money more easily,” Berger said. Read the full story in the Windham Journal.