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Livingston County gets closer to delivering broadband to every resident

  • / Updated:
  • Staff Report 

Livingston County is working with with Empire Access to deliver affordable broadband to every address there. It’s part of the Light Up Livingston initiative. Construction will begin in the first part of 2023.

To date, Hunt-EAS, an engineering firm that is assisting in the construction of the network, has surveyed service areas, applied for pole permits and has begun to lay the foundation for a network that will meet the needs of Livingston County residents for years to come.  

“I’m very pleased to report that our mission to provide high-speed affordable broadband internet throughout the County is well underway,” said Livingston County Administrator, Ian M. Coyle.  “Much of the pre-construction process has been completed and the project’s foundation is being readied for installation in the early part of 2023.  With the changing nature of work and the need for quality, reliable internet at home, we recognize that high-speed internet is an essential component to remain competitive and informed in today’s environment.  I’d like our residents to know that we’re invested in this forward-thinking project and are excited to see it move from concept to reality.”      

DiSanto Propane (Billboard)

One of the most innovative projects in the County’s 200-year history, Light Up Livingston was bolstered in part through an $11.3 million grant from Round 2 of the United States Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Broadband Reconnect program.  Overall, the $1.15 billion ReConnect Program offers loans and grants to facilitate broadband deployment in areas of rural America that lack sufficient access to broadband.  

With construction set to begin in the early part of the new year and internet services tentatively scheduled to go live within the first half of 2023 for eligible addresses located within the first phase of the project, the public-private partnership between Livingston County and Empire Access, a local internet service provider, has continued planning for the expansion of broadband within the County after submitting an application for ReConnect Round 4.  If further funding is awarded, the project’s reach would grow to over 4,600 addresses including agricultural and residential locations along with businesses and critical infrastructure.  As a result, the Light Up Livingston initiative would be one step closer to realizing its goals by offering high-speed, affordable, fiber-optic internet to every address within the County.

In an effort to efficiently implement Light Up Livingston, the County developed a phased approach to its broadband development, first identifying and focusing on unserved areas with no options for home internet access.  From there, the approach targeted addresses with speeds below 100/20Mbps and finally on addresses with existing internet below 1 Gbps or whose choice of providers is limited to one.

Residents are encouraged to visit the County’s geographic information system (GIS) portal, which provides an overview of locations throughout the County that are currently included in grant funding as well as areas that would be included should future funding be awarded.  The portal also gives estimated timelines for when communities will see broadband services in the future, however, it is important to note that these projections are subject to change.