Lexington Broadband Initiative Update

MTC Cable, a subsidiary of the Margaretville Telephone Company (MTC), is pleased to announce the completion of the first phase of its Fiber-to-the-Home network expansion in the Lexington Community. The activation of this initial phase of the network marks an important milestone for the Lexington Broadband Initiative in delivering broadband and advanced telecommunications services to the Town of Lexington. The Lexington Broadband Initiative is a collaborative effort of community residents, municipal leaders, regional economic development agencies, and MTC working to secure funding to support the expansion of broadband services to the un-served residents and businesses in the Town of Lexington and western regions of the Town of Jewett. The pursuit of funding commenced in 2014 and was initially unsuccessful in securing grant funding during Round One of the New NY Broadband Program in 2016 as the region was determined to be ineligible for funding at that time. Grant funding was awarded to MTC, as the service provider, during two subsequent funding rounds for the Lexington and Jewett townships in 2017 and 2018. “It is exciting to see the project finally moving forward” expressed Glen Faulkner, General Manager of MTC, “The residents of Lexington have been extremely patient waiting for this day to come. Access to reliable broadband service has become essential in our everyday lives and plays a key role in the economic growth and prosperity of the entire region.”

The cost of extending broadband service into the unserved regions exceeds $35,000 per mile making it financially challenging to provide the services into the rural locations such as Lexington. Mr. Faulkner continued, “Unlike the funding programs of the Rural Electrification Administration and Rural Utilities Service Programs established in the 1930s and 1940s, which funded the extension of electric and telephone lines into the rural valleys, there has not been a national commitment to support the expansion of broadband services. The matching grant funding available through Governor Cuomo’s New NY Broadband Program plays a critical role in facilitating broadband expansion in our region.”


The Lexington Broadband Initiative will facilitate the construction of over 100 miles of Fiber-to-the-Home facilities to un-served homes and businesses in the Lexington and Jewett areas of Greene County. In total, 1,100 locations will have access to telephone, cable television, and broadband services upon project completion in September of 2019. With completion of the initial Phase of the network this Fall, residents along portions of NYS Route 42, Spruceton Road, and NYS Route 23A will have service availability. Additional segments of the network will be activated as the construction process continues over the next 8 to 12 months throughout the remaining portions of the project area.


MTC Cable will be hosting an Open House at the Lexington Farmers Market on Saturday, September 15th from 10:00AM to 1:00PM. MTC staff will be on-site to showcase service offerings, provide updated time-lines for service availability throughout the project area, schedule installation dates for residents located within areas where construction is complete, and answer questions.

513 Homes Added to over 400 Round 2 Homes

Hello! You didn’t give up hope, did you? Round 3 Awards for the New New York Broadband pubic – private partnership grant program came out this week. MTC’s application to cover 513 additional homes in Lexington using state and federal dollars was successful. Round 3 adds to the over 400 homes passed awarded in Round 2 competition. We will have nearly complete fiber optic coverage in the Town of Lexington. What does that mean? Every eligible public road is the commitment MTC makes to Lexington. We’ll get ‘er done was the commitment the Lexington Broadband Initiative made to itself when we began.

When? The Round 2 buildout that includes the hamlet of Lexington, Airport Road, County Route 13, a Jewett extension, and Spruceton Road, along with the connector links to bring fiber to each area (along 23A and Route 42– serving homes on each side of the connectors) has a 2-year completion window. Round 2 is to be completed by the end of 2018. The latest award has a 2-year window as well, bringing completion of Round 3 by the end of 2019.

There will be some concurrent buildout where it is logical, meaning some areas of Round 3 are simply more logical to build as Round 2 is being built because of their location. The new award removes cost constraints for that, but the time constraints for Round 2 mean that those Round 3 areas immediately built will be few and the bulk of the Round 3 areas will wait until Round 2 is complete before buildout. In anticipation of success, MTC always had a complete design for the town. MTC is close to the end of “make-ready” work that depends on information from both Verizon and Central Hudson concerning poles and pole conditions. Materials for the buildout of Round 2 are ready to go. Materials needed for Round 3 can now be ordered.

MTC had additional good news concerning the company itself. On the same day that they received their Broadband Round 3 Award announcement, they also formally became a majority employee owned company. This means MTC has a full commitment to its rural roots. They will remain in the area and are as invested in success as we are.

I look forward to seeing everyone in town who sang for, dreamed of, worked for and is happy about Lexington’s Broadband Initiative at our first farmers market of the season on May 26. We’re going to party like it’s the end of 2019, and the future belongs to us.

Redefining Broadband FCC style

Surely, Our Nation Can Do Better Than This! What’s in a Name? In this case… a lot!

Please REPLY to the FCC proposal to redefine Broadband Internet in order to call un-and under-served regions “served.” A link is provided for you at the end of this newsflash.

The new head of the FCC, Ajit Pai, has proposed that cellular Internet be counted as a full substitute for home Internet access. This move essentially allows the administration to lower broadband standards by redefining what constitutes broadband internet access, rather than addressing an unserved reality in rural towns and underserved (poor) urban neighborhoods. In addition, the standards set during the Obama administration defining broadband as providing 25 Mbps download speed and 3Mbps upload would be watered down to broadband being defined as a 10 Mbps/1Mbps standard, and possible via cellular access.

[To read about the FCC proposal in full, go to https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2017/09/senate-democrats-fight-fcc-plan-to-lower-americas-broadband-standards/]

Twelve concerned Senators responded to the FCC in a letter that reads, in part:

At this time, such a striking change in policy would significantly and disproportionately disadvantage Americans in rural, tribal, and low-income communities across the nation, whose livelihoods depend on a reliable and affordable broadband connection… In reading this notice of inquiry, it appears that the FCC, by declaring mobile service of 10Mbps download/1Mbps upload speeds sufficient, could conclude that Americans’ broadband needs are being met—when in fact they are not. By redefining what it means to have access, the FCC could abandon further efforts to connect Americans, as under this definition, its statutory requirement would be fulfilled. We believe that mobile broadband service cannot adequately support the same functions as does fixed service currently and, therefore, cannot be a substitute at this time. A small business owner who wants to begin a new venture today would not be adequately supported by mobile-only service. Should the decision to change current policy be made with the technology currently available, it would signal a strong departure from the Commission’s mission, while also implying that certain consumers must accept lower-quality connectivity.

Those of us who have lived with inadequate satellite and cellular Internet know what we have been fighting for and why. Underserved and unserved regions cannot progress, cannot compete, and do not get a fair deal with cellular or satellite internet access that inevitably carries low data caps and punitive contract conditions that are expensive as well as inadequate in the world we now live in.

Ordinary folks like us can comment on this Neanderthal proposal until September 21. You do it by going to this FCC site:  https://www.fcc.gov/ecfs/search/proceedings?q=name:((17-199))

It’s a pain in the neck to be asked to make your voice heard, I know, but I urge you to respond to and politely protest this proposed FCC action.

To read further about this, go to: http://www.dslreports.com/shownews/FCC-Tries-to-Lower-the-Bar-For-Broadband-Deployment-140106

Keep up the fight. We still have to win additional fiber to the home coverage in Round 3. That round does incorporate and anticipate federal CAF funds to be in play to complete NY’s plan to extend true broadband coverage to unserved and underserved regions of the state. Our partner and prospective provider, MTC, has seen nothing to suggest that there is any impact in the FCC’s proposal on the New York State / FCC partnership via CAF funds for New York State at this time. Round 3 awards are expected to be announced at year’s end. That does not mean we should not weigh in on the absurd notion that cellular internet at the FCC’s proposed speeds with low data caps and punishing overage charges is broadband.

Best-Bonnie (Lexington Broadband Initiative)

Round II Coverage Results

Hello Lexington,

Tuesday night’s Board turnout certainly made for a convincing picture of a town’s desire for Broadband coverage. Below, I have included a link to the coverage map provided by MTC on Tuesday evening. If you use your enlarging tools or magnifying glass, you may find it more enlightening.

The areas in maroon/pink are the eligible blocks that made up the Round II grant award to hook up over 400 Lexington homes (or units) and 260 in Jewett. The blue areas are the CAF (federal Connect America Fund) areas that the state fought to keep despite Verizon’s refusal to use the funds in Round !.

The federal funds, about $170 million, advance the state’s intention overall– to make the most of all money available to them –state and federal– to push closer to the New NY Broadband goal of Broadband 4-Everybody by the end of 2018. Those blue areas are targeted for federal funds. They also represent the coverage areas MTC plans to develop into a competitive application for in Round III, when the federal funds come into play. It is approximately 500 more homes that MTC envisions for the blue area. When remaining state and federal funds are combined, the grant fund for Round III applications totals over $300 million remaining for awards.

It is evident looking at the map that the Spruceton Valley (West Kill) is in the pink. MTC has made clear that they are linking the hamlets via Route 42, including “premises on both sides of the street along Rte 42, but not the side roads off Rte 42 to the west,” clarified Project Engineer Steve Finch in an email to me. I asked about back yards that meet Rte 42, even if the properties front on Howard or Chamberlin Roads. Project Engineer Finch answered: “Some of it depends on pole lines, where service drops originate, etc. We will connect them if it makes sense during the construction phase.  We don’t want to go back in any areas to over-build during a second round. If it seems logical, it probably is and will be part of Round 2.”

MTC will use Route 23A to get to Lexington hamlet from Prattsville. Coverage would be similar to Rte 42 coverage, including homes on both sides of the road. Coverage in Lexington hamlet along Route 13A is “probable, since MTC will be right there.”

In order to get to the Jewett area receiving MTC’s Round II coverage, MTC will follow County Route 13 (homes on both sides) and County Route 52 and along 23c in the northern portion of Lexington. The identified census blocks for MTC’s Round II run along the northern portion of 23C in Lexington.

This is a little meat for the bones of the map. I’ve taken a screenshot to allow you to study Lexington more closely.

Finally, I want to stress that what has happened in the southern area of Greene County is an example of something we don’t get to say much these days: synergy. The Broadband Program Office worked to smooth a path for providers, listened to them throughout Round I, made adjustments and encouraged participation. Greene County’s Broadband Chair, Warren Hart held round table discussion between providers encouraging the trading of facilities or services. They put the greater good, maximum coverage where there had been no coverage, ahead of aggressive blocking moves or disdain of the process. I know we have a debt of gratitude for their efforts.

On to Round III. Broadband for all of Lexington is our goal.

Round II Coverage Results Map:

Maroon/pink –  are the eligible blocks that made up the Round II grant award to hook up over 400 Lexington homes (or units) and 260 in Jewett

Blue Areas –  are the CAF (federal Connect America Fund) areas that the state fought to keep despite Verizon’s refusal to use the funds in Round 1.

What Will Round II Coverage Look Like? Come Tuesday Night to Find Out

As many of you now know, Lexington was a big Round II winner in the “New NY” private/public Broadband grant competition for the Capital Region. MTC Cable was awarded $1,384,192 for its Lexington project. It is the biggest Round II award in Greene County, covering 401 units in town. Please join Margaretville Cable representatives at the Tuesday, March 7 town board meeting to hear details of the Round II plan of coverage.  The town board meets in the courtroom of the Municipal Building at 6:30. The Broadband presentation will be the first item on the agenda.

MTC will continue to compete on Lexington’s behalf in Round III, which opens in less than a month, to add even more areas of the town to the over half of Lexington now poised to receive Broadband– high speed Internet without punitive overage charges and low data caps– as a result of our Round II success. Because Round III opens so quickly on the heels of Round II, the physical build outs of both Rounds would end up being concurrent or nearly so, says MTC’s Glen Faulkner.

News of the coverage areas in town will be published via this site, lexingtonbroadband.org, and through posted information at our Post Offices after the meeting. You are welcome to contact me directly with any questions if you feel you have missed anything.

Best- Bonnie

Sometimes Big Things Happen to Great People

This is hot news and it’s not fake news. Lexington was a big winner in Greene County for Round 2 Broadband awards. Over 400 homes will be covered in this Round 2 announcement. I hope to call a special meeting soon because I know everyone has questions about the coverage area. Presently, I do not know where those eligible census blocks are but I can tell you Round 3 opens on the heels of Round 2, and Margaretville Cable has made it clear they will be applying in Round 3. I’ll be making an announcement at the March 7th town board meeting and if I have more details, I’ll give them at that time, or as soon as I have them via this site. – Bonnie Blader

For Immediate Release: 2/28/2017 GOVERNOR ANDREW M. CUOMO


State of New York | Executive Chamber
Andrew M. Cuomo | Governor

More Than 32,700 Homes and Business to Gain Access to High-Speed Broadband in the Capital Region through Round II

Advances Governor’s Goal of Providing Broadband Access to All New Yorkers by the End of 2018 
Round II Awards and Census Block Data Available Here


Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced $39.2 million in New NY Broadband Program Round II grants have been awarded to 11 projects in the Capital Region. These awards will provide 32,737 homes and businesses with access to high-speed broadband for the first time, and leverage $9.8 million in private matching funds – bringing the total public-private investment in the Capital Region to $49 million in Round II. Through Rounds I and II, the program has driven a total of more than $65 million in public-private investment in high-speed broadband across the region. Since the program’s launch, Governor Cuomo has secured upgrades statewide for more than 2.3 million homes, businesses and institutions.

“Broadband is today what electricity was nearly a century ago – essential to creating economic opportunity, driving innovation and an absolute necessity for our way of life,” Governor Cuomo said. “These awards will provide homes and businesses with access to the high-speed internet required to participate and succeed in the modern economy, and are a major step toward broadband for all in New York.”

In total, Round II will drive $268 million in public-private investment and will support a total of 54 projects that will reach 89,514 homes and institutions in unserved and underserved communities. Together with upstate high-speed broadband buildouts and upgrades ‎being carried out by Charter under mandates from the New York State Public Service Commission, Round II awards will ensure that 98 percent of New Yorkers will have access to the high-speed broadband required to succeed in a modern economy.

The awarded projects include 18 Capital Region libraries and 4,017 businesses and community anchor institutions (government buildings, healthcare facilities, institutions of higher education, K-12 schools, and public safety locations). The 11 awarded projects – addressing both unserved and underserved territories – span seven counties in the Capital Region. In total, nearly 2,550 miles of broadband infrastructure will be deployed in the region, delivering new economic opportunities for New Yorkers.

Towns Benefitting From Broadband Buildout as Part of Round II – Capital Region

Town State Grants Total Investment Number of Units
Ravena (Village) $53,241 $65,856 1,176
Coeymans $13,356 $16,520 295
Westerlo $2,626 $3,248 58
Rensselearville $1,041 $1,288 23
Town State Grants Total Investment Number of Units
Copake $4,241,198 $5,301,237 1,353
New Lebanon $2,718,608 $3,398,093 868
Chatham (Town) $2,564,621 $3,205,590 891
Chatham (Village) $2,558,734 $3,198,261 814
Livingston $2,338,091 $2,922,424 1,278
Ghent $1,931,710 $2,414,486 687
Ancram $1,784,499 $2,230,510 579
Taghkanic $1,565,107 $1,956,249 731
Gallatin $1,515,300 $1,893,999 768
Hillsdale $1,447,444 $1,809,205 490
Canaan $1,422,701 $1,778,285 465
Town State Grants Total Investment Number of Units
Lexington $1,384,192 $1,729,914 401
Jewett $897,481 $1,121,640 260
Halcott $225,833 $322,554 80
Catskill (Village) $95,345 $117,936 2,106
Cairo $69,901 $86,464 1,544
Town State Grants Total Investment Number of Units
Stephentown $4,626,084 $5,782,294 1,543
Berlin $1,485,762 $1,857,095 515
East Nassau (Village) $568,924 $711,107 213
Petersburgh $348,239 $435,278 111
Nassau $219,414 $274,247 87
Town State Grants Total Investment Number of Units
Hadley $379,127 $473,800 200
Town State Grants Total Investment Number of Units
Princetown $321,661 $402,040 46
Duanesburg $300,683 $375,820 43
Rotterdam $118,875 $148,580 17
Town State Grants Total Investment Number of Units
Johnsburg $1,177,190 $1,471,149 621
Stony Creek $642,620 $803,091 339

Round II Awards in the Capital Region:

Fairpoint 2 Projects $27,157,161
Frontier Communications 2 Projects $2,637,923
Gtel Teleconnections 2 Projects $5,259,217
Mid-Hudson Data Corp. 1 Project $849,818
MTC Cable 3 Projects $2,507,505
Pattersonville Telephone Company 1 Project $741,220

The Broadband Program Office is currently finalizing a Request for Proposals for the Program’s upcoming Round III, which will launch within 30 days. This round will seek to complete the Program’s goal of bringing high-speed internet access to New York’s remaining unserved and underserved communities. Round III will be complemented by $170 million in Connect America Funds, which was recently allocated to New York State by the Federal Communications Commission.

Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, “The New NY Broadband Program is successfully implementing the Governor’s vision for a fully connected Empire State. The Round II grants announced today will drive hundreds of millions of dollars in state and private investment to deploy projects that will bring broadband to businesses, schools and communities, all of which need high-speed internet to compete in global economy.”

Empire State Development Executive Vice President of Broadband and Innovation Jeffrey Nordhaus said,“We would like to thank all of those who participated in Round II of the New NY Broadband Program and congratulate today’s winners. Today’s grant awards position us to provide high-quality broadband service to New Yorkers who need it most.”

New York State residents can check their Census Block (CB) Round II availability and commitments made through Governor Cuomo’s New NY Broadband Program here. Census blocks are aggregated by county to determine where buildout will occur.

About the New NY Broadband Program 
Recognizing the importance of broadband infrastructure and building on prior State investments in broadband deployment, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo in 2015, with legislative support, established the $500 million New NY Broadband Program. The Program provides New York State grant funding to support projects that deliver high-speed Internet access to Unserved and Underserved areas of the State, with priority to Unserved areas, Libraries, and Educational Opportunity Centers.

An “Unserved” area is defined as an area where the fastest available advertised Internet download speed offered by a wireline-based provider is less than 25 Mbps.  An “Underserved” area is defined as an area where broadband service is only available from a wireline-based provider at advertised Internet download speeds between 25 Mbps and 99 Mbps. The Program is the largest and most ambitious state investment in broadband in the nation, with a goal of achieving statewide broadband access in New York by the end of 2018.

Making Friends in the Pursuit of Broadband

Along the way since 2015, the Lexington Broadband Initiative has listened to and learned from other state operatives in pursuit of broadband. Here is an article written by SUNY Polytechnic Institute graduate, Joe Pasqualetti, who has been after broadband acquisition to serve the outskirts of Rome, NY where he lives and works. His region has the infrastructure and commercial presence to consider a community owned broadband network. You can read his article here:

A Call for Local-Led Internet Service





Hoping Quartz Is Diamond For Us

We Are Featured in Online Article

Hello Lexington,

Quartz is an online news source and can be read around the world. Today, this article was posted. Enjoy!


Meanwhile, I am informed by Columbia County Town of Ghent Broadband organizer, Dave Berman, who sang with us on “Second Round Woes,” that Ghent will benefit from merger  conditions exacted by the Public Service Commission on Time Warner/Charter Communications. The town will be given access to 100 megabit service by “New Charter” under the PSC deal.  “Several other [nearly] towns will also benefit from that.,” Dave says.

In addition  the Columbia County Board of Supervisors has created a subcommittee under its economic development office and has appointed an advisory group for broadband, of which Dave will be a part.

Any town’s or county’s success is cause for celebration. It builds momentum for us all.


The Tide Is Turning?

June 14, 2016

Acquisition of high speed Internet (Broadband) increasingly is understood by government to be “a service that should be equally accessible to all Americans, rather than a luxury that does not need close government supervision.” This is the conclusion one draws from a recent two-to-one decision from a three-judge panel at the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The decision clears “the way for more rigorous policing of broadband providers and greater protection for web users.” (The New York Times, June 14)

Read more here by copying and pasting this address into your browser: http://nyti.ms/1YpBSWe  (“Court Backs Rules Treating Internet as Utility, Not Luxury”) Published in The New York Times, June 14, 2016.

Also explained in the Huffington Post in an article entitled “Appeals Court Hands Obama Administration Major Win in Net Neutrality Case” (June 14, 2016).

The industry plans to challenge the ruling. The ruling essentially applies to a doctrine known as net neutrality, and “prohibits Internet Service Providers from charging content producers for faster or more reliable service, a practice known as ‘paid prioritization.’ The rules also ban blocking and purposefully slowing the traffic of lawful services, and apply to both mobile and fixed broadband service.” (Huffington Post)

The decision may have little immediate application to Lexington, except to illustrate the shift in government perception of the Internet from being a frill, to seeing the Internet as an essential tool, and consumers as in need of more protection than providers. Under the ruling, Internet Service Providers must allow for “unfettered access” to all content producers. It’s a decision bolstering the idea that you should not have two Internets, one a fast lane, and one a slow lane for all those who do not pay for upgraded access.