Tompkins Weekly

Dryden continues overview on broadband plan

Dryden Deputy Town Supervisor Dan Lamb. Photo provided.

The town of Dryden is in the process of finalizing an overview plan to bring municipality-owned broadband to the town and the village, Deputy Town Supervisor Dan Lamb said Jan. 6.

The plan, which began in the spring of 2019, is looking to implement fiber optic broadband for each household in Dryden.

The project is expected to cost about $14.5 million, said Town Supervisor Jason Leifer. The cost will include up to $3 million in federal grants and funding from bonds to be determined, Lamb added.

Lamb anticipates that the plan will be finalized by spring of this year. The goal is to put out a request for proposal to providers and have providers respond with their own proposal. The town will pick the best proposal and then proceed to roll out the plan “incrementally in five to six phases of the town and village,” Lamb said.

“We’d put that grant money to good use and leverage it with additional funding,” he said.

Lamb said before the coronavirus pandemic, the broadband issues Dryden faced affected the economy and quality of life for some small businesses, farmers and people who work from home.

With the town and village now in the thick of the pandemic, Lamb said more people are working virtually and students are learning remotely with “no improvement to the speed and quality of broadband in households, which leads to an equity issue.”

“It’s something we need to take into consideration when you think about universal broadband,” he said.

A large portion of sections in Dryden doesn’t have broadband options at all, Lamb said. While other municipalities have access to a mix of radio, satellite and DSL alternatives, portions of Dryden do not.

Even though 90% of Dryden has access to broadband internet, Lamb added the speed and connection quality “isn’t as adequate for many.”

“It’s frustrating for a lot of our residents,” he said. “It puts a limit on options, especially for work.”

About 4,000 households in 2019 were surveyed and compiled into a presentation by HUNT Engineers, Architects and Surveyors of Horseheads.

Close to 1,000 residents responded to the survey, which Lamb said is about 25% of the town’s population. According to the survey, 46% receive less than 10 megabytes per second download speed, with 41% paying between $51 and $100 a month for service.

Of the residents who answered the survey, 71% subscribe to Spectrum.

Lamb said based on the town’s business plan, 96% of the surveyors are interested in 100 Mbps service and potentially reasonable prices between $50 and $60 per month.

“The residents’ response to the survey was incredible. They’re interested in improving their broadband as much as possible,” Lamb said. “People don’t think they’re getting a fair price based on the quality of speeds.”

The town’s broadband committee is slated to meet Friday, Jan. 22 at 11 a.m. via Zoom. Lamb said the committee plans to discuss further grant and bond options for the broadband project.

In Brief:

Comprehensive plan workshops begin next Wednesday

The first of three Dryden 2045 Comprehensive Plan virtual workshops is set for Wednesday, Jan. 20 at 6 p.m. via Zoom. The other workshops are scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 26 and Wednesday, Jan. 27, at the same time.

The workshops will tackle six thematic areas of Dryden. The first workshop will focus on affordable housing and land conservation, the second on transportation and walkable communities, and the third on economic development and energy sustainability.

Leifer is encouraging widespread participation in the workshops.

“It is important that Dryden residents of all ages participate in shaping our comprehensive plan,” he said. “These sessions are open to everyone, and I encourage people to participate in as many of these workshops as they can.”

Residents can access information on how to attend the workshops and review the draft goals and strategies through the project website at under the “Virtual Public Workshop” hyperlink.

The town Planning Board began and conducted the process of the comprehensive plan in 2019. The plan hasn’t been updated since 2005.

Town and village of Dryden meetings for January

The town of Dryden’s next abstract and agenda meeting is scheduled for this Thursday at 6 p.m. via Zoom. The town’s regular business meeting this month is slated for Thursday, Jan. 22 at 6 p.m. via Zoom.

Other scheduled meetings this month via Zoom are the Dryden Rail Trail Task Force this Monday at 7 p.m., the Conservation Board on Tuesday, Jan. 26 at 7 p.m., the Recreation and Youth Commission on Wednesday, Jan. 27 at 7 p.m., and the town Planning Board on Thursday, Jan. 28 at 6 p.m.

The village of Dryden’s Board of Trustees meeting is Wednesday, Jan. 20 at the village hall on 16 South St. Other village meetings this month is the village Planning Board on Monday, Jan. 25 at 7 p.m.

One response to “Dryden continues overview on broadband plan”

  1. Robert T Newman says:

    Will all homes within the town of Dryden be included, including rural areas currently without services at all? Personally, I am a teacher working from home with only cellular internet available, which is extremely problematic.

    How will the work be prioritized? Will you first get services to people that have no current broadband option ( cannot even get spectrum) and need it for work? Or will a solution for someone like us still be years away if at all?

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