Troy looks at high-speed internetThe worldwide web took center stage Thursday, Nov. 12 as the town of Troy discussed plans for town-wide access to high-speed internet services.
By: By Chris Hamble, Hudson Star-Observer
The worldwide web took center stage Thursday, Nov. 12 as the town of Troy discussed plans for town-wide access to high-speed internet services. While this has been discussed in the past, it has not been economically viable, however with the recently passed stimulus act the town has the opportunity to apply for federal funding to pay for 80 percent of the infrastructure installation.
To apply for this funding, the town is working with Eureka Broadband, a third party that specializes in helping communities like Troy apply for federal funding. Both Eureka and Troy feel that there is a strong chance that funding for this project will be received as much of the groundwork has already been done, and the $10 million cost is currently the “sweet-spot” for federal grants for this type of project.
According to a survey done in 2007, 75 percent of current residents have said that high-speed internet is a high priority. While others have come out and said flat-out that if they had known that there was no high-speed internet in the town, they would not have moved in, a fact that as weighed heavily on the town board for the past year and a half.
Several possibilities for service types were discussed, however the town found most of them unsatisfactory. With satellite service there are irregular speeds, and service can be lost during a storm. Comcast cable, while viable, has shown no interest in coming to a town the size of Troy; AT&T DSL is viable, but technology and expansion is limited; town-wide wi-fi would require additional equipment if there was no line-of-sight with the broadcast tower.
Ultimately, the town settled on Baldwin Telecom. It would provide fiber-optic service to the home, a technology that is currently in its infancy, and apparently is where the current trend of internet access is shifting too. Only a fraction of the potential speed of the technology has been utilized. Another benefit of this is that the installed infrastructure would last for decades, with the other technology having to be upgraded, or replaced within 10 years. Baldwin has also agreed to cover the extra 20 percent of the infrastructure installation cost, money that would be recouped within 30 years of internet service to the town.
“This is a very interesting opportunity for the town,” said Supervisor Dan Pearson
Chairman Ray Knapp, added, “They are the only service that has shown interest in the town, I can see that their interest is sincere.”
While no decision was made at the meeting, it will be added to the December agenda, as the deadline for application is the first quarter of 2010.
Service fee changes
The town of Troy has adjusted some service fees in an attempt to recoup funding that has been currently being lost. Fee changes include: