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Southern Tier group receives $50K grant for broadband expansion

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. — The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) awarded Southern Tier 8 Regional Board a $50,000 grant to expand and connect Binghamton, Endicott, and Johnson City to an ultra-fast middle-mile fiberoptic network, bringing residents and businesses closer to high-speed broadband service.

Southern Tier 8 will use the funds to plan the route the fiber will take. In November, the organization announced Project Connect, an initiative to connect the Southern Tier and Central New York to high-speed broadband. This grant will fund the first step toward connecting Broome County’s underserved rural areas and providing improved broadband wireless and Smart City services to people in the Endicott, Johnson City, and Binghamton urban core, Jen Gregory, executive director of Southern Tier 8 Regional Board, stated in a news release.

“This is a great day for Broome County and for the city of Binghamton, and town of Union, including Endicott and Johnson City,” Broome County Executive Jason Garnar said in a statement. “This important fiber expansion helps to grow our economy, adds to our quality of life, and bridges the digital divide. Make no mistake, Broome County residents will have greater ease participating in the jobs, education, healthcare, and entertainment of the future.”


While digital connectivity in the Southern Tier has grown over the years, it still trails other more populated parts of the state. While more urban areas of the region are technically served by broadband providers, the service lacks modern-day speeds and the capacity to keep up with the changing needs of employers and families in the area, according to Gregory.

“This is the opportunity we’ve been waiting for, to finally connect Endicott, Johnson City, and Binghamton to high-speed fiber and to market the region as a Smart City,” she said. “We’ll use the funds to design the route. Once built, internet service providers and wireless carriers will be able to tap off of the Southern Tier Network’s fiber and bring better service to area residents and businesses. This is a major step forward for Project Connect.”

Southern Tier 8 has a partnership with the Corning–based nonprofit Southern Tier Network (STN) which provides the region’s middle-mile network — the fiber backbone — that areas can tap into to connect to high-speed fiber.

Southern Tier 8 plans to roll out additional announcements in the coming weeks to chronicle the progress of Project Connect.

The Southern Tier 8 Regional Board ( is a multifaceted economic development and planning agency serving eight counties — Broome, Chenango, Cortland, Delaware, Otsego, Schoharie, Tioga, and Tompkins. Its focus is to sustain and grow the regional economy.



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