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The Dryden Fiber project recently entered phase three, according to Dryden Town Supervisor Jason Leifer. Photo Provided.

Dryden Fiber project enters phase three

Tompkins Weekly, September 27th, 2023, "Dryden Fiber project enters phase three"

The Dryden Fiber project recently entered phase three, as Dryden officials continue their mission of providing widespread broadband service.

Phase three was presented earlier this month by HUNT Engineers, an architectural firm assisting the town with the project. The primary initiative is to lay out plans for design, bidding and construction management for phase-three areas.

“This [phase] will allow pole attachments to run fiber on the poles,” said Dryden Town Supervisor Jason Leifer. “We’re at the stage where it’s stretching out from the fiber backbone.”

According to David Makar, marketing coordinator for Dryden Fiber, more than 150 parcels could have access to the project’s internet service.

“It’s exciting. It’s a lot more homes, a lot more parcels and areas to market to,” Makar said.

Dryden Fiber, a $15 million project that began in 2019, is the first municipal broadband provider in New York state. It started providing service last November. The town has noted in the past that the project is expected to pay for itself within a decade. 

Phase three includes a utility pole survey for the villages of Dryden and Freeville and the hamlet of Etna in preparation of applications for installation. This will lead to aerial bid documents for those areas.

Also in phase three, all routes will be defined north of Route 13 to the town boundary. Main roads and adjacent roads are included where the broadband service needs households in those areas. Those areas include:

  • Peruville Road
  • Route 108
  • Upper Creek Road
  • Lower Creek Road
  • Route 109
  • Fall Creek Road
  • Route 163
  • State Rt. 13 North (Village of Dryden to town boundary)
  • Livermore Road
  • Bradshaw Road
  • And more

Leifer noted that the town recently put in a request for proposals (RFP) to Tompkins County to provide funding for internet service for unserved addresses in the Dryden Municipal District. This means, Leifer added, that Dryden Fiber will compete with Spectrum and other broadband service providers to offer service first.

“Even if companies beat us on the RFP, we’re still building in that area – no matter what,” Leifer said, noting the ability to offer competitive prices. “Our goal is to bring the price down, not to do what other providers do, which is to increase costs over time.”

Makar said Dryden Fiber receives inquiries every day from among the 150 parcels available. He noted that people are satisfied with the lowest deal at $45 per month, but a good portion request higher speeds at $90 per month.

On its website, Dryden Fiber provides a map that details where service is currently available or in progress, as well as showing availability within a year.

“There’s a lot of demand,” Makar said.

Leifer mentioned that town residents who have Dryden Fiber service are enjoying it so far.

“The way things are going, as long as things see approval, we could be putting fiber on poles in the village of Freeville and parts of the village of Dryden by November,” Leifer said.

Leifer said Dryden Fiber continues to stand by its goal of providing broadband service to “every single address” and “every single road” in the town.

“It’s an essential service that needs to be provided to everybody in the town of Dryden,” Leifer said. “The private industry has failed to do that, so we’re stepping in to do it.”