Many of New York’s rural communities have long strived to identify or create a niche that would give them instant recognition as a “hotspot” or the place to be. But it has not been until recently that a rural municipality could, with the flip of a switch, literally be the “hotspot” – that is, the Wi-Fi hotspot for its residents, businesses, visitors and municipal employees.
Cities and towns around the globe are developing networks in neighborhoods, business districts and along main streets where free, high-speed access is attracting visitors and meeting the needs of residents alike. But what about the rural areas of New York State? While in more urbanized localities, cable, telephone and now power companies offer Internet connectivity, the more outlying areas of our state struggle to provide the connectivity that is needed for business and personal uses. From tourism to retail and from distance learning to working from home, the lack of connectivity has impacted every part of the economy.