Posts Taged broadband

Wi Fi Hot Spots in Long Lake

The Town of Long Lake announces free Wi-Fi hotspots now active and open at the Long Lake Town Beach, the Long Lake Ball Field, Long Lake Town Hall and Mt. Sabattis Pavilion. Free Wi-Fi, provided by SLIC, will also soon be available at the Long Lake Town Dock. These Wi-Fi hotspots will be on for 24 hours a day.

Town Supervisor Clark Seaman worked closely with SLIC to ensure that Wi-Fi was delivered at no cost to the town as part of a lease franchise arrangement made with SLIC. “We want to offer this convenience to our residents and visitors and we are excited to be a part of the growing trend to provide this service and make Long Lake a great destination and the best place to live in the Adirondacks.”

Wi Fi gets installed at the Long Lake Town Beach just in time for summer.

Wi Fi gets installed at the Long Lake Town Beach just in time for summer.

Alexandra Roalsvig, Long Lake Director of Parks, Recreation and Tourism says it’s a long time coming. “Adding the Wi-Fi to public spaces will make it so much more convenient for visitors and residents to live, work and play. We want people to go on their social media accounts and #feelinglonglakey while using these hotspots. While we enjoy the slower pace of life, we know people need to be connected even when on vacation and maybe they’ll stay longer if they can get some work done while enjoying the view of Jennings Park Pond and the Seward Mountains. International visitors can avoid expensive roaming charges and paddlers on the Northern Forest Canoe Trail can connect at the beach and not even get out of their boat.”

The Wi-Fi hotspots are operating 24 hours a day in time for the Great Adirondack Garage Sale May 27th – May 29th. Wi-Fi Hotspots are available at the Long Lake Town Beach, 1258 Main Street, the Long Lake Town Hall 1204 Main Street, the Long Lake Ball Field at 1167 Main Street, Mt. Sabattis Pavilion at 6 Pavilion Way. A hot spot will also be added at the Long Lake Municipal Town Dock.

For more information check out www.mylonglake.com or contact SLIC for high-speed broadband service. www.slic.com

Wireless Broadband Heading to Long Lake

On December 19, 2012, it was announced by the New York State Regional Economic Development Office that the North Country Region was one of the top performers competing across New York State for several large scale financial awards to complete some vital economic expansion projects. A total of $738 million in awards were announced Wednesday. The regional councils were established in 2011 as a way to reinvigorate the state’s approach to economic development grants. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a press release that prior, top-down economic development policies didn’t work.

Long Lake will reap a gain from Wednesday’s announcement. SLIC Network Solutions, from Potsdam NY, was awarded $1.37 million to install the “final mile” of broadband in Long Lake and surrounding areas. This project will expand broadband access in the Adirondacks. Planners and engineers are in the process of acquiring permits to complete the project and they are hopeful to see movement in 2013. Phil Washgal, President of SLIC reports: “we are in the process now of working on the engineering and the permitting and we are still shoot to provide service for the next common ground alliance meeting so that we can do a video conference.”

I moved back to Long Lake, NY after living in the New York City suburb of Cranford, NJ for several years. While living in New Jersey I enjoyed the indulgent pleasures of gasoline pumped by an attendant, curbside garbage pick up (for added fee and stereotypical warfare between two hauling companies), home mail delivery, a buffet of cell phone service and the dueling availability of Comcast High Speed Internet or Verizon Fios.

In making the decision to move to Long Lake I knew there would be sacrifices of convenience. We’d have longer distances for grocery shopping, eye doctors, orthodontists, dentists, hospital care. Our family was willing to make lifestyle accommodations to gain the benefit of living in a remote and beautiful location where the kids would have a small school, safe community and we’d be surrounded by family. But there was one thing that was required before the big move. Access to the web.

In Long Lake we only have one option when it comes to internet. Ok – two if you really can deal with dial-up or three, if you want to pay for a satellite uplink. So before the movers even arrived with the boxes, I called Frontier Communications to make sure the internet was set up before I nestled in for my first night. And as much as I love the lake, mountains, woods and the lack of vehicular traffic, I also rely on the internet to do my job and stay in touch with the outside world. Availability of internet service was mandatory when my husband and I were making the decision to uproot our lives and move to the Adirondacks, miles from the nearest city. So hooked up we were. We left the world of Comcast behind and entered the great unknown to us, the world of DSL.

As it stands now internet the average download speed in Long Lake is 76% slower than the United States with an average speed in the US registering at 11.7Mbps and in Long Lake it’s 3.04Mbps. The current upload speed in Long Lake is 0.20Mbps, 87% slower than the US average of 2.4Mbps. Speeds were tested using Speedtest.net and testmy.net. The warning at the bottom of the computer screen has a big yellow exclamation point flashing, “YOU MIGHT HAVE A PROBLEM.” For those lucky enough to live within one or two miles of the hub, Frontier Communications is now upgrading their speeds and consumers may be able to have 6Mbps download speed.

So the tests show it’s slow for a regular consumer like my family, but somehow my kids are playing games on line, we’re using Netflix and on busy summer days it seemed like a cacophony of summer friends stop by to use the web portal to check on their real lives. So if it could handle that, what’s the problem?

Ask the guy living year-round in Long Lake, more than two miles from the Frontier Communications portal, who relies on internet to do his work. He has a job with Hewlett-Packard. His download speed works well enough, but his challenge, the upload. This fall I ran into him and he reported he had cut firewood, painted his living room and climbed Coney Mountain while his files uploaded to his office base in Nashville. He wasn’t overly stressed when he mentioned it took eight hours to upload the files. It was the weekend and he didn’t mind because it would be there by Monday. He had gotten used to it, having made his living off and on in the Long Lake area for over 12 years by working from home. He plans his time wisely to cope with his limited upload speed. He perks up when asked if he’d sit on a local group to identify ways broadband could improve the quality of life in the central Adirondacks. He heartily agreed and said that an increase in his upload speed could impact him directly and he could stay home longer and travel less.

I learned about upload speeds all on my own when a good friend was about to undergo a liver transplant and I was on tap to upload a five minute inspirational “We hope you don’t die before you see this video” a few hours before his surgery. Reality was, it took so long to upload, he was actually out of surgery by the time it finished uploading. Luckily he survived and managed to see it, but lesson learned, don’t wait until the last minute to upload your big files. That goes for graphic heavy files if you are working in print media, uploading mega database files, or anything for that matter. When we send our emails we count megabytes. It’s like a throttled twitter feed, only worse and it’s an everyday limitation. There could be smoke coming out of that modem box if you think you’re attaching the family wedding album or sharing files with a co-worker half a world away. Sharing software ala dropbox and yousendit are options, but allow enough hours in the day and find other things to do while you download or upload those files.

Doing business up in the Adirondacks can be done and we have a slower approach to life so we’ve learned to cope. It’s actually got it’s own moniker, “HamCo Time.” It would be more convenient if there was a bigger “buffet” of internet access with redundancy (meaning if the internet goes out, you can get it via another path.) That would have helped in October when the internet was down for a day over the entire region because of a car crash in Gloversville.

Not everyone interested in relocating to the area is waiting for fiber. Some recent transplants to Long Lake are business owners and entrepreneurs who were able to move to Long Lake because of the availability of cell phone service via AT&T.

So the big dream is coming. Competition! When SLIC arrives and sets up their fiber network coupled with wireless portals, two hotspots and wifi options to homes that can’t be connected via fiber the big question remains, what will that mean for every day consumers and their “regular life?” It means improved quality of life. In regular life terms, it means business owners have options. Businesses can upload data and mega files and access goto meetings. It means updating a graphic heavy website, email, calendars, instant messenger, and collaboration tools. Residential consumers can stream movies, skype, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Stumbleupon, local news, national news, news of the world, streaming Netflix, Hulu, Skype, shopping, research and Minecraft for the kids. It can be wasting time or productive time, it’s the viral world unleashed.

Don’t get me wrong, we’re grateful to have the internet we have, but turns out we will have choice and better service for our dollars. It means more economic opportunity. There will be jobs available for at home workers who can work at night after the kids are tucked into bed. College kids might actually stay or even move home if they can stay connected to the outside world at a competitive speed. Small rural businesses can expand their business opportunities. Travelers and second homeowners could extend their stays because they could do some work from their vacation spot. Broadband and a working cell phone tower? In the middle of the Adirondacks? What would the bears think? Could we finally be as advanced as rural Canada who has already made the commitment to have broadband or fiber internet available to everyone in the country by 2015?

US Senators Schumer and Gillibrand Visit Long Lake NY

Long Lake, NY, August 12, 2011

US Senator’s Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand stopped by Long Lake Central School on Friday, August 12th as part of a whirlwind tour of the Adirondack North Country Region to meet with leaders from around the Adirondacks and to engage in conversation about jobs and the most vital issues facing Adirondack residents today.

On tap for the structured panel discussion included William Farber, Chairman of the Hamilton County Board of Supervisors, Brian Towers, President of the Adirondack Association of Towns and Villages, Mark Brand, Superintendent of Indian Lake Central School, Kate Fish, Executive Director of ANCA, Garry Douglas, President and CEO of the North Country Chamber of Commerce, and Ann Melious, Director of Economic Development and Tourism for Hamilton County.

Senators Schumer and Gillibrand outside Long Lake Central School

Kirsten Gillibrand arrived in the room first, shook everyone’s hand and made light of the fact that Chuck was still out in the hallway talking. Gillibrand opened up the discussion with her appreciation for everyone coming out to meet with them and cited the most important issue of the day: jobs.

Senator Schumer entered the room with Bill Farber and greeted everyone and remarked on the beauty of the area, the bustle of the town, the great weather and then the panel got down to business.

Bill Farber led the meeting, thanked Long Lake Central School for hosting the event then and called on the panelists to share their insights.

Brian Towers spoke first and gave both US Senators copies of the APRAP study. The report is the result of a two-year research effort by and for the communities of the Adirondack Park to provide a data-rich, factual baseline for discussion and planning of park issues at both the local and regional levels.

Schumer and Gillibrand at the Panel Discussion

Brian Towers touched upon the human desire of people who want to live in the Adirondack region because of the natural beauty, water, quality of life, small schools, but the lack of jobs has bled the region dry. He listed several ideas that included attracting innovative thinkers in rural development to the region, and the need to create and develop loan funds to support infrastructure. Other ideas included: the possibility of carbon credits, developing family friendly jobs focusing on biomass and to foster a way to encourage and reward private investment.

Mark Brand reminded Senator Schumer of previous visits to the Indian Lake Central School. Schumer remembered his visit fondly as he had a school lunch featuring fish sticks. After a moment of levity Mark Brand spoke about the schools in the immediate area. He emphasized the answer is not to consolidate schools, but to create opportunities out of challenges. Model the regional school districts as the Newcomb, NY school district has done, and to seek federal help to revise immigration laws to make it easier for smaller communities and public schools to host foreign students and limit unfunded mandates.

Kate Fish spoke about the Common Ground Alliance’s successful meeting held in July (in Long Lake at Mt. Sabattis) which is a cross-section of people in the Adirondacks with differing views. This year’s event the Common Ground participants were asked to rank potential workable ways to model a future for park residents and the overall consensus was to work on the model for the Sustainable Life, but for that to succeed it was vital to have broadband available in the region.

Garry Douglas outlined the potential revitalization of the historical train corridor route between Utica and Lake Placid with an emphasis on connecting to Tupper Lake. Douglas also mentioned the possibility of developing it as a recreational corridor, clarifying that trains and a viable recreation corridor for hiking, biking and snowmobiling would not be exclusive of the other.

Both Kate Fish and Garry Douglas touched upon the importance of broadband to the region and the topic elicited a big reaction and much interest from both Schumer and Gillibrand. The panel discussion veered off course so the senators could clarify the needs of the area. Where broadband is available now? Where wireless is available and if one was more viable to the region than the other depending on the area it was serving.

In Long Lake cell phone service is available from AT&T only and not Verizon. Long Lake does have DSL available and it is serviced by Frontier Communications. At this time the Town of Long Lake has plans for two wi-fi hot spots at both Mt. Sabattis Pavilion and the Long Lake Town Hall. Plans for implementation and timeline have not been released yet.

The broadband discussion emphasized the need for money to serve the last mile of broadband. The hardest challenge is the connection from a main hub to the local residents. Gillibrand is working on a farm bill and discussion on the agricultural committee is the consideration to put a requirement similar to the original telephone bill to make broadband service available and mandatory all across the country.

Senator Schumer with Ann Melious

Ann Melious from Hamilton County, NY spoke about the effort by the county to promote and attract younger families with children to move to the region. Hamilton County is starting a campaign to tap into what is most attractive about our area to live including: safety, scenery, sense of community, small schools and to encourage people to work from home. She sought support from the senators to consider the possibility of Hamilton County being part of a pilot program and model for rural communities across the nation.

Schumer and Gillibrand wanted to clarify that their job encompasses everything from big problems to small and they are here to serve the needs for everyone in New York State. Everyone is encouraged to contact their office with their thoughts, concerns or ideas. Schumer mentioned that the elimination of earmarks was tough on rural economies and directly effects those in the Adirondacks. “Getting rid of earmarks makes our job harder.”

Time was short, the itinerary was tight and the Senators took some photos with guests at Long Lake Central School. Once photo ops were completed they continued on their North Country Tour.

Senator Schumer, Long Lake Town Supervisor Clark Seaman, Senator Gillibrand

Long Lake