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High speed internet one step closer for Southern Tier

Posted at 6:17 PM, Dec 03, 2020

N.Y. (WKBW) — Remote learning in 2020 without high speed internet has made a tough year even harder.

"As a rural community we have struggled with finding internet and providing services," Sharon Huff, Superintendent of Cattaraugus-Little Valley Central Schools said.

It's a struggle for many people in the southern tier, and Huff has experienced the frustrations first hand.

"We don't have the infrastructure," Huff said, "We purchased laptops and MiFi's but it has been a real challenge and struggle for us to connect and get broadband."

This struggle could be coming to an end after a 115-mile fiber optic line was discovered. Running from Whitesville in Allegany County to Jamestown in Chautauqua County and passing through many small rural areas like Little Valley along the way.

"There are lines that were put in during that last economic downturn that were essentially underutilized and uncovering one in our area was a huge boom" State Senator George Borrello said.

According to State Senator Borrello, the line was built between 2009 and 2013 by Ion Communications and left undiscovered until recently. Now? It could be used to give high speed internet to the lower part of New York State.

"In my district across three counties you're talking more than 250,000 residents" Borrello said.

The lines will still need work so it is unknown when they will be up and running, but, this starting point is one the community can celebrate.

"It builds a lot of hope for this community," Huff said, "not just the students but from an economic perspective as well."