Poughkeepsie… As part of “Dutchess Invests,” Dutchess County Government’s program announced in June to prioritize the one-time funding allocated through the Federal Government’s American Rescue Plan (ARP), Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro announced the County’s High-Speed Internet Access Survey is the County’s first step in investing $1 million of the funds in critical communications infrastructure. Dutchess County residents, nonprofits, and business owners, whether with or without Internet access, are asked to complete the survey to help determine the quality and quantity of high-speed internet, often referred to as broadband, available throughout the county.
County Executive Molinaro said, “While a lack of access to high-speed Internet service has been a national problem for years, the past 20 months of the Coronavirus pandemic has both exacerbated and highlighted the ‘digital divide.’ Access to this resource has become critical as students and employees have had to shift between at home versus in-person school or work. This survey will help us better understand where to invest in infrastructure and develop a plan to ensure access to this critical utility.”
High-speed internet technology has revolutionized the way services are provided and business is conducted globally by improving communication and the speed at which information flows. From school districts adopting hybrid learning to healthcare offices offering virtual tele-health visits to government and nonprofit agencies providing the high-quality critical services many Dutchess County residents rely on, high-speed internet’s utility touches all aspects of residential and commercial life.
Due to numerous Internet Service Providers serving different parts of Dutchess County, reliably identifying gaps in service is challenging. Similar surveys, such as those conducted by New York State and the Town of Stanford, are being circulated, however, it is important to also complete the County’s survey to help build a more comprehensive map and identify underserved and unserved areas as well as barriers that may be preventing access to high-speed Internet service.
After collecting basic information such as address and type of location (home or business), the survey will ask users with Internet access to complete an optional “speed test” that will accurately measure the upload and download speeds in their home or office. The speed test should be completed on a device connected to the internet or wi-fi at the location to be tested. For those without Internet access, the survey can be completed without the speed test on any connected device, or a paper version of the survey is also available.
Additionally, to assist those with limited or no Internet access, the County is partnering with local libraries as well as Senior Friendship Centers. Contact the Department of Emergency Response at (845) 486-2080 or email email@example.com for assistance or to obtain a paper copy of the survey.
“It’s important for those without Internet to also complete the survey to give us an accurate and comprehensive map of Dutchess County’s Internet accessibility,” County Executive Molinaro said. “We encourage everyone to complete this survey and help ensure all our neighbors, whether in rural or urban areas, have access to this service that so many rely on for their home or business needs.”
The survey is being conducted in coordination with NYSTEC, an independent technology consulting firm. The firm will use results from the survey to develop a strategic plan, which will be released in summer 2022 and will be used as an investment roadmap for the County to address infrastructure and access needs and areas for improvement.
To take the survey and learn more about the County’s High-Speed Internet Access Initiative as well as the importance of broadband access for all, visit dutchessny.gov/highspeedinternet.