Steuben, Chemung, and Schuyler counties have joined with fiber-optic cable manufacturer Corning to announce a middle-mile network connecting community anchor institutions, wireless towers, etc. Corning picked up the lion's share of the network, $10 million of the $12.2 million price tag.
Local governments, educational institutions, health care organizations and other commercial/industrial businesses also stand to benefit greatly, said Marcia Weber, Southern Tier Central executive director.
Possible applications include “distance learning” between college campus branches and “telemedicine” between rural clinics and major hospitals, Weber said.
The project has been a top priority for Southern Tier Central in recent years. Weber, who called it “her passion,” was very disappointed when a major federal stimulus grant was narrowly missed last year.
The counties’ share (Steuben, $1.23 million; Chemung, $790,000; Schuyler, $188,000) will fund a non-profit, to be called Southern Tier Network, that has been created to oversee and maintain the network.
The project starts this year and expects to be finished by 2013. In 2014, the project is expected to become self-sustainable -- being funded by the fees it charges for access to the infrastructure.
A fact sheet on the project [pdf] explains the governing structure:
Southern Tier Network is a new not-for-profit, local development corporation (LDC) established to own, build and manage a $12.2 million regional fiber optic backbone that will enable access to the highest speed broadband connectivity available in Chemung, Schuyler and Steuben Counties. Articles of Incorporation for Southern Tier Network have been filed with New York State, and a board of directors is in place, comprised of representatives from the three counties and other community stakeholders.
The fact sheet also explains the idea of Middle Mile and Open Access (referencing Axcess Ontario, a similar project funded by Ontario County):
Southern Tier Network will...