Dryden Fiber to expand across city, near Caroline, after ‘unprecedented’ grant

Dryden Fiber to expand across city, near Caroline, after ‘unprecedented’ grant
Dryden Fiber to expand across city, near Caroline, after ‘unprecedented’ grant

The City of Dryden-owned and operated internet company will significantly expand its reach thanks to a new grant. The provider said it will reach new addresses in Dryden and the neighbouring town of Caroline.

Like many rural areas in New York State, the Town of Dryden struggles to provide affordable and reliable internet access to its residents. After unsuccessful negotiations to lure internet giants to parts of the town, Dryden created its own internet service provider to meet the needs of its customers, called Dryden Fiber. It is the only such entity in the state.

New York’s ConnectALL office recently awarded the service provider $8.9 million through the city’s infrastructure program, a windfall the city called “unprecedented.”

The money will be used to reach all addresses considered unserved or underserved by internet service providers in Dryden and Caroline. This means that addresses with internet speeds below a certain speed will be affected by the expansion.

David Makar, executive director of Dryden Fiber, said it would make a big difference in terms of connectivity for those households.

“So from dial-up to waiting for a download, not being able to use video to be able to do streaming, video conferencing, video calling, video teaching, telehealth. It’s a huge change in the experience of being online,” Makar said.

Dryden Fiber is on a mission to expand its infrastructure to include places where internet access is poor or nonexistent. But Makar said the expansion will also provide a new option for people who already have internet access.

“So when we go to underserved or unserved neighborhoods, we can also reach all the households that are in our path that only have one choice, and we can offer them other choices.”

The project has a deadline to use the money to expand until 2026.

“In 30 months, we will have completed construction of the entire network in the City of Caroline and all the unserved and underserved areas in the City of Dryden,” Makar said.

He hopes the project will begin connecting Caroline customers by next year.

Makar said he is open to discussing the project with other municipalities that are interested in connecting to Dryden Fiber or learning from the project.

According to Dryden Fiber, more than 2,600 locations in the two cities will benefit from internet access thanks to the new expansion.

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