DFT approved for broadband project in Dunkirk-Fredonia area

A study has shown that there are 4,065 addresses in Chautauqua County that cannot receive high speed internet.

According to Mark Geise, Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency Director and deputy county executive for economic development, DFT Communications will soon be bringing broadband to some of those residences.

During the recent county IDA Board of Directors meeting, a State Environmental Quality Review Act resolution was approved for a new broadband project in the Dunkirk-Fredonia area.

Previously county officials set aside $2.5 million from its American Rescue Plan Act funds for a broadband expansion project. The money came from the federal government to help communities recover from COVID-19.

Geise said the study, which was done by an outside agency, divided up the county into four “zones” and invited developers to bid on the project to expand broadband in those different zones.

According to Geise, DFT Communications was the low bidder for Zone 3, which is the Dunkirk-Fredonia area. There are 385 households without the ability to get high speed internet in that zone.

DFT said it will cost $1,663,000 for broadband expansion there. The company has agreed to pay for half of the cost and the county would be responsible for the other half. Geise said the ARPA funds will be used for the county’s portion.

According to Geise, DFT is going to start the work sometime in May and should be finished in the fall.

Geise added that Charter Communications, sometimes referred to as Spectrum, won the bid for the other three zones. He said the county is working on getting the necessary matching funds from the state and federal governments for the other 3,680 households which currently cannot receive high speed internet. The IDA also has leftover ARPA broadband funds available as well.

The SEQRA resolution, which was required for the DFT project to begin, was unanimously approved.


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