By Craig Thorn, III
Last summer the Columbia Hudson Partnership first broached publicly the importance of bringing high speed Internet connectivity to Columbia County businesses and homeowners. I'm delighted to report that in the few months since, we have been successful beyond our most optimistic predictions, and continue to move forward at a very rapid pace.
Please note my use of collective pronoun we. That's because we have had great cooperation and encouragement in this exploration from Columbia County's independent phone companies and from Mid-Hudson Cablevision. However, we'd still like to broaden that sense of we further to involve more residents, parents, teachers and other individuals who have a stake in the newly available world of telecommunications.
We have discovered that Columbia County is far ahead of the counties to our south in the Hudson Valley, and, so far as we can tell, years ahead of the rural counties that otherwise resemble us, not only throughout New York State but the entire Northeast.
Last summer, when we started looking at these issues, we extolled the efforts of Berkshire Connect, the business cooperative in Berkshire County, MA that first got our attention a year ago. Their goal is to provide high-speed Internet access to any business in Berkshire County at a reasonable price.
We have since learned that Berkshire County so far only offers dedicated T-1 lines with 1.5 megabits or greater bandwidth- more than many businesses want or need.
We are actually ahead of Berkshire County in our high-speed broadband offerings to most businesses. DSL or cable modem service is available throughout most of Columbia County (see accompanying map)