Tupper to Long Lake broadband nearing completion

TUPPER LAKE – The high-speed Internet line build from Tupper Lake to Long Lake is slated to be completed by the end of the summer.

Slic Network Solutions President Phil Wagschal told the town board last week that service would also be extended south of the Moody Flow area.

Town Supervisor Patti Littlefield said she was concerned about people who live past Charland Road, where Time Warner Cable’s service ends.

“I’m concerned about the people who come here, who have businesses and would like to keep working while they stay in Tupper Lake,” Littlefield said. “If I live out there and I want to spend the summer in Tupper Lake with my family, when would I be able to have service out there? You say by the end of the year, but could you make it by the Fourth of July?”

Wagschal said he’d love to do that but doesn’t want to set any expectations he can’t achieve.

In 2010, Slic received $33 million in federal stimulus money to bring high-speed Internet service to parts of the North Country that don’t have it yet. Last spring, the Empire State Development board also approved a $596,000 grant to help Slic extend 27 miles of new Internet service cable and related equipment between Tupper Lake and Long Lake. The grant will cover most of the $697,758 Slic applied for through the Consolidated Funding Application process.

Slic currently provides high-speed Internet, phone and cable services to more than 3,000 homes throughout the region in communities including Piercefield, Cranberry Lake, Wanekena and Newton Falls.

Slic is the middle-mile provider for this project, so the company won’t necessarily provide last-mile service to homes. Wagschal said Slic is exploring several partnership opportunities with Development Authority of the North Country or Verizon that could change that.

“It’s possible Slic could become a last-mile provider,” Wagschal said. “Today we provide, through the fiber that was run by DANC, free broadband service from The Wild Center to the school district, the Municipal Park, the civic center, the (Adirondack Public) Observatory and the (Goff-Nelson Memorial) Library.”

Wagschal said the section from The Wild Center to Long Lake was considered middle mile and was covered by federal grant money. He said additional installations would cost about $150 each, plus a two-year contract, and a minimum service requirement of about $100 a month because the fiber installations are fairly expensive.

Littlefield asked if the town could get service at Little Wolf Campground. Wagschal said it is possible and that there are a variety of ways to make that happen.

Town Councilman John Quinn said having Wi-Fi service in the park is great, but it should be advertised. He then said he’d like to see more options for residents here and asked if Slic is prevented from providing phone, television and Internet service within the Time Warner Cable franchise area.

Wagschal said the franchise is not exclusive, but Slic’s mandate at this time is to serve the unserved.