MADISON COUNTY, N.Y. (WSYR-TV)- Madison County officials say a broadband project meant to serve over 1,000 households that are unserved/underserved begins this week.

The county had a meeting with Empire Access who will provide services to residents. The total cost of the project is $16,013,254. The County was awarded a $10.1 million federal grant in July of 2021 that will help pay for it. The county will match $3.3 million, and Empire Access will contribute $2.3 million. Madison County Administrator, Mark Scimone, said he realized faster internet service was needed after hearing from residents.

“There’s over 1,000 homes that this project is going to serve,” said Scimone. “Most of them are the Southern part of the county, but the project will serve the entire county because it’s going to be a ring connecting the Northern part to the Southern part, so not only are we going to be helping the unserved and underserved, but we’re bringing a major competitor that’s going to be providing services to the Northern part.”

Scimone says internet needs to be faster for people, especially now. Speeds are expected to be at least 100 MbPs to one GbPs. The Supervisor for the Town of Lenox, John Pinard, says with more residents working remotely faster internet is necessary.

“Then when after the pandemic when people are going back to regular life, you’ve got companies that are saying that, I’m not going to heat that office building anymore I’m just going to let my people work from home, but they can’t work from home because they don’t have internet, so people are suffering.”

The project is expected to be complete in two to three years, and Scimone says this will generate millions of dollars in tax revenue.