By PETE KLEIN
Express News Staff
SPECULATOR - An effort by local officials that began over four years ago is bearing fruit; high speed broadband is already bringing jobs to the county, even though it is not yet available everywhere.
Driving past the Frontier Communications building at 2789 Rt. 8 here Friday, Oct. 18, around 9.30 a.m., one may have noticed the parking area was full of company vans and cars. The reasons are several.
There are now two full-time communication specialists, Steve Werneke and Adam Lanphere, working out of the high-tech telephone and broadband hub.
Frontier General Manager Todd Rulison and Technical Supervisor Cindy Vdoviak were also there, to show Lake Pleasant Supervisor Neil McGovern what is inside this building that is now making it possible for residents to enjoy significantly increased broadband speeds and faster telephone service.
Rulison explained the two new, full-time workers will be able to quickly respond to telephone and Internet service calls. As orders are received at the main office in Gloversville, they are now sent to the switching station office here for Werneke and Lanphere to work their magic, either at the switching station or at the home or office where the request for service originated.
Rulison said the switching station office on Rt. 28 in Indian Lake currently has one full-time employee. Together, the employee in Indian Lake and the two employees here will help each other meet service demands as needed.
Hamilton County and Frontier Communications took a giant step forward earlier this year to bring true broadband infrastructure with much more bandwidth to the county.
Work on Phase I of the Hamilton County Broadband Project continues, resulting in higher speeds for Internet users throughout the county.
Those living within or near a hamlet should already have noticed a doubling of speed from about 2.5 to 5 megabits per second (Mbps), Rulison said, at no extra charge. If not, Rulison suggests calling customer service at 1-800-921-8101.
Before calling, connection speed can be checked at www.nyspeedtest.org/.
Rulison said customers now getting the faster 5 Mbps who would like even faster download speeds of up to 12 or even 24 Mbps, should call. Faster speeds are available in many areas for an additional monthly charge.
PHASE II COMING
Phase I installation will be complete this year or early next year. Phase II of the Broadband Project, which received $1.7 million in funding through recent North Country Regional Economic Development Council awards, will connect main switches, such as those in hamlet centers, to remote switches and extend a fiber optic cable spine through much of the county.
Rulison pointed to the planned laying of fiber optic cable down Cedar River Road in Indian Lake in 2014 as an example of bringing high speed broadband to areas far removed from hamlet centers.
Broadband speed increases will depend on proximity to fiber optic cable or switches -- either remote or the main switches located in hamlets.
THE NEED FOR SPEED
How much download speed does one need? It depends. Here are some examples of minimum download speeds required for various applications.
• 768K to 1.5 Mbps -- basic e-mail, Web browsing, Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) such as Vonage.
• 1.5 to 3 Mbps -- streaming music, Standard Definition Video (SD), remote surveillance and telecommuting jobs.
• 3 to 6 Mbps -- file sharing (small / medium files), Internet Protocol Television (IPTV).
• 6 to 10 Mbps -- online gaming, Video on Demand, such as Netflix.
• 10 to 25 Mbps -- telemedicine, remote education, high definition IPTV.