New Company Seeks To Expand High Speed Internet Access

Tuesday, Mar 29, 2016

A new company based in the town of Bombay is looking to provide broadband, high-speed Internet service to the most sparsely populated communities in St. Lawrence, Franklin and Lewis counties.

The company — Mohawk Networks, LLC, 2819 State Route 95, was created Jan. 1 and has offices near the Akwesasne Mohawk Casino.

James F. Hidy, who is serving as the company’s business development manager, said the company is seeking customers in areas that receive inadequate Internet service or no service at all.

“The folks in the rural areas are screaming to get connected. These are the kind of areas we want to impact,” Mr. Hidy said.

Mr. Hidy, a former Massena village mayor, gave a presentation to St. Lawrence County legislators during their Monday night Finance Committee meeting.

He said the company will be competing for a portion of the $500 million available through Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s New NY Broadband Program.

“We are responding to the governor’s initiative calling for all four corners of the state be Internet connected,” he said.

Jeff Beekoo, Massena, is serving as the company’s chief executive officer.

Mr. Hidy said Mohawk Networks differs from other area providers in that it will broadcast from towers and access Fi-Wi rather than relying on underground fiber optic cables.

“We’ll be able to broadcast to remote areas where fiber optics is not available,” he said.

He said other north country Internet providers, including SLIC Networks in Nicholville and Time Warner Cable, do not currently provide Fi-Wi service.

Mohawk Networks has already erected a 300-foot high tower at its Bombay office site.

Mr. Hidy said other potential sites for towers include Brasher Falls and Colton. Mohawk Networks also plans to collaborate with the Development of the Authority of the North Country in expanding Internet service.

There are several areas in Northern New York that lack adequate Internet service, particularly the most sparsely populated communities, he said.

According to data provided to legislators, an estimated 10 percent of the north country — about 43,000 people — lack broadband access, which is a higher percentage than other regions in the state.

“There are many rural areas that are off the beaten path that are either under served or receive no service at all,” Mr. Hidy said. The availability of broadband Internet access helps spur economic growth and assists job seekers, businesses, medical professionals and students compete at the national level, according to information published by Mohawk Networks.

Legislator Anthony J. Arquiett, D-Massena, said expanding broadband Internet access is important for attracting firms interested in redeveloping sites such as the former General Motors plant in Massena.

“I view this as extremely important,” he said.

Legislator Travis E. Dann, R-Gouverneur, said Gouverneur was also an under served community.

“This is a big need. It’s a requirement for any kind of development,” he said.

In other action, the board agreed to amend a 2006 local law regulating all-terrain vehicle operations on specified county roads. The amendment adds two bridges and portions of two roads in the town of Brasher where all-terrain vehicles will be allowed. Those include a 0.9 mile section of County Route 50 from Burns Road to Vice Road; 0.1 mile of County Route 55 from Old Town Barn to Depot Street; Depot Street Bridge and Smith Road Bridge Road.


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