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Expanding broadband access in rural communities, just in time for school

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(WBNG) -- Federal leaders are trying to tackle a very local problem here in the Southern Tier.

Congressman Anthony Brindisi announced Monday the results of a broadband survey from across the region.

The big takeaway is New York's 22nd congressional district, which stretches from Utica to Binghamton, has the slowest internet in the state. He said it will take action on a local and national level to solve this.

Brindisi added the fight for internet access is a big one for rural communities.

"This crisis is hurting our economy, our small businesses, our families, and our children," Rep. Brindisi said. "Shockingly, the Federal Communications Commission doesn't even know what areas have access to broadband and what areas don't."

Brindisi said the reason the federal government has such a poor understanding of who has broadband access because of the way they measure it. Currently, if one household in a community has access, the federal government determines the entire community has access, something Brindisi said doesn't accurately represent community access.

Officials said this is particularly important as the school year inches near.

"That internet connection is huge and is unfortunately an obstacle in some of our remote areas," said Tim Ryan, superintendent of the Bainbridge-Guilford Central School District.

Ryan said 15-20 families in his district have inadequate access to broadband.

Josh Rosenblatt

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