5:34am

Thu December 26, 2013
Regional Coverage

Maffei wants expanded broadband access in rural central New York

Bringing broadband Internet access to rural central New York is on the list of items that Syracuse-area Rep. Dan Maffei says he would like to get done. Maffei, a Democrat, says the move to bring broadband to the area isn't just about having a faster connection to do Google searches, but building sustainable economic and informational growth.

"The more we can be hooked up, not just in our cities but in our rural areas, the more people can telecommute," Maffei said. "The more people can engage in all sorts of different kinds of business, and the more people can communicate with their families around the world. That's going to be a tremendous asset to people in this central New York community."

He says broadband will bolster the local economy and eventually create more jobs, too.

"There's more and more innovation everyday that might help us do things like, not even necessarily have to bring new transmission lines," Maffei said. "We could also do it by satellite or we could do it on existing kinds of transmission lines, but all that technology doesn't matter if there's not some sort of a structure to make those things available in rural areas."

The congressman noted that increased broadband access can help streamline the use of telemedicine, sending information from rural hospitals and clinics to doctors in other regions of the state. The need for expanded broadband connectivity was included as part of Maffei's educational plan unveiled in October.

"Once you get access to broadband, it opens up the door, if you will, to so many other different kinds of things. All sorts of different kinds of ways to communicate, for all sorts of purposes. So, it's a huge deal. You can't do the kinds of telemedicine that we've seen happening until you have that access to broadband data. So, it's the precursor to any of that."

The congressman's office says they are attempting to schedule the broadband symposium sometime in mid-January, after the previously scheduled meeting in Red Creek was canceled because of the weather.

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