Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

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March 21, 2014

Collins hears broadband testimony

(Continued)

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — “Broadband technology offers rural America untold economic, educational and social opportunities and we consider it our job to deliver that access,” he said.

Lynne Johnson and Dave Godfrey, legislators in Orleans and Niagara County, respectively, and prominent members of the Niagara Orleans Regional Alliance, said Collins’ visit was a step in the right direction.

“There was a lot of new and valuable information brought out today,” Godfrey said. He pointed specifically to the testimony of Kendra Lamb of the Farm Bureau.

“She explained how 31 percent of farms in New York State don’t have broadband access,” Godfrey said. “That really expands the number of underserved areas … and is totally unacceptable.”

Johnson said bringing “all the right players and vendors in the same room” was advantageous to move things forward.

“The Federal Government heard our need and was able to come and listen to us,” she said. “They heard what’s impeding rural broadband from getting to that last mile.

“They heard our cry, and they came to our turf because we’ve been the loudest on the issue,” Johnson added. “We want to be able to provide last mile coverage, and we want to do it at an affordable rate for everyone.”

Collins said the message was not lost on him, and that the more information available and disseminated about rural broadband access, the better the chances of bringing forth legislation on the issue down the road.

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