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Dryden Town Hall

Town hires broadband marketer, installation coordinator for Dryden Fiber

Tompkins Weekly published a Dryden Fiber update in the Dryden Dispatch column on June 21, 2023.

The Town of Dryden is making moves as its municipal broadband project continues to gain traction.

The Dryden Town Board recently approved the hirings of a marketer and an installation coordinator for Dryden Fiber.

David Makar, a former town deputy supervisor in the 2000s, was hired as the broadband marketer. Makar, who recently held a marketing position with Instacart, will be paid $16,700 to create and execute a marketing proposal for Dryden Fiber.

“He’s a very qualified person,” said Dan Lamb, the town’s current deputy supervisor. “He’s Dryden-friendly.”

Makar, who will be in charge of public outreach and gaining interest, attempted to push forward and campaign for a broadband project when he was on the town board, but those efforts fell short.

“He’s almost come full circle [with broadband],” Lamb said.

Gleamon Technology, which Lamb described as a “vendor,” has been pegged as the installation coordinator. Led by Executive Officer Ken Gleason, the Gleamon Technology team will assist in the installation and operation of the Dryden Fiber project.

Gleamon Technology will receive an hourly rate of $110 for the work.

Lamb noted it was “always the town’s plan” to “staff up” as the infrastructure gets put into place.

“It’s the right time to make these hires because we have the infrastructure laid and we have a website taking requests for service,” Lamb said. “We’re building out the fiber, so residents can get hooked up.”

The Dryden Town Board also approved the purchase of $97,936 worth of materials for the buildout of Dryden Fiber. According to Gleason, the materials will allow broadband to expand about 112,000 feet added to the existing range of 60,000-80,000 feet.

Dryden Fiber, a $15 million project, is the first municipal broadband provider in New York state and began providing service in November. The pilot portion of the project, which covers the southwest portion of the town into Etna, is covered by $2 million in federal COVID-19 disaster relief funding, an Appalachian Regional Commission grant and bond money.

Dryden Fiber’s service offerings include these levels:

  • Silver: $45 per month for up to 400 Mbps download and 400 Mbps upload
  • Gold: $75 per month for up to 700 Mbps download and 700 Mbps upload
  • Platinum: $90 per month for up to 1 Gbps download and 1 Gbps upload

According to Lamb, more than 100 individuals have expressed interest in the service.

“We want to make sure we’re communicating with the whole town on the status of the project and when various areas will get service,” Lamb said.

Once the pilot concludes, the town will enter phase two, which will focus on the western half of the town. Phase three will cover the eastern part of the town.

Based on discussion from town officials, the Dryden Fiber project is expected to pay for itself in close to 10 years. This, however, is dependent on the town obtaining further grant funding.

“The more subscribers Dryden Fiber has, the more value can be passed along to the customers,” the Dryden Fiber website states.

Lamb mentioned that the town plans to apply next month for federal funding through the state’s ConnectALL program. ConnectALL strives to “build New York State’s digital infrastructure and connect all New Yorkers through the internet,” according to the state’s website.

It is anticipated that the state will receive $1 billion for its statewide broadband assistance program, Lamb said. The hope, Lamb added, is that the town will receive $1 million to $2 million in funding.

“We’d be in a good position for that funding,” Lamb said.

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