Erie County wants to know: How good is your internet service? It is looking to find out where it is good and where it needs help or might be non-existent.
The county has been running a study for a while, trying to figure out how good the service is now and what should be done to improve it. The money for it comes from Albany as part of a half-billion dollar by Governor Cuomo to make broadband accessible to every home and business in the state.
That is a problem in the state's vast rural areas and even in urban areas. Charles Weber lives in rural Concord and says his service is not very good
"I can barely do anything. I can email, I can surf Facebook, but no streaming shows, no downloading movies, no even getting on YouTube for even brief periods of time. It's really restrictive," he says. "I'm an IT guy by trade, but I'm involved in other organizations throughout the community. So I'm doing a lot with the internet and I need the faster speeds."
People can let the state know about problems in a quick survey through an online portal. To take the survey, visit eriecounty.crowdfiber.com.
Matthew Crider is Vice President of Consultant Services for ECC Technologies out of Rochester, the county's consultant for the project.
"We want to know the parts of Erie County that are reasonably well served: Do you feel you're getting a good service for a reasonable price? Also, where are those areas where it's insufficient or where people are dissatisfied? And that's good for the leadership of the community, the planners. It's also good for the telcom providers so they have that information and we'll share the information with them," he says.
County Executive Mark Poloncarz describes his home service as adequate. Poloncarz says it is an economic development issue.
"We have to be able to have this available throughout all of Erie County," he says. "When a business is looking to set up shop in Erie County, they're not going to set up in a location where they can't get access to the highest speeds possible. So it's very important that all areas have it. Otherwise, we're putting ourselves behind the 8-ball when we're trying to compete against other regions, not only in our country, but in the world."