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Closing the digital divide on the Cattaraugus Territory with a broadband network initiative

It's a multi-million dollar project
Is it really high speed fiber internet, or not?
Posted at 6:42 PM, Nov 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-21 18:42:44-05

IRVING, N.Y. (WKBW) — Let's say you want to check Facebook or watch the latest viral video. If you live on the Cattaraugus Territory, internet access means traveling to the local library.

“I have a Verizon mini, the little box and it provides a good connection, but it’d be nice to have something stronger, a lot quicker,” said Wind DancerParker, who lives in the Newtown Community. He came to the Seneca Nation Library to send out a resume

The Seneca Nation and U.S. Department of Agriculture are working to bring change to this rural community.

They announced a $5.8 million investment to bring high-speed internet to the area. It's a broadband network initiative that aims to bridge the digital divide.

"It’s a program that’s going to connect rural America to the rest of the United States,” Said Donald Lavoy, Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development at the USDA.

It will bring 1,000 households high-speed internet at 100 Mbps. Right now, internet is 2 Mbps, similar to dial up.

Less than half of households on tribal lands in rural areas have access to adequate internet, per the FCC.

“It’d help a lot because my kids do a lot of things with their district on the internet, so it’d make it a lot easier for them to have access to it without lack of internet or speed."

The Nation expects the project to be done in the next 2-3 years. $4.3 million comes from the USDA, the rest comes from the Nation.