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Dryden Fiber, Town of Caroline, Town of Dryden, and Guests at Kick-off Announcement

Dryden Fiber Wins Unprecedented $8.9 Million Grant

Dryden, NY (June 24, 2024) Internet service in Dryden and Caroline will soon be vastly expanded, thanks to a successful grant submitted by Dryden Fiber, a broadband provider operated by the Town of Dryden. Federal, state, and local officials gathered at Dryden Town Hall today to celebrate the news. The competitive grant was awarded by the New York State ConnectALL Office’s Municipal Infrastructure Program, after an extensive review process. Dryden Fiber is the only municipally owned and operated internet service provider in New York State.  

The Municipal Infrastructure Program was established through funding provided by President Biden’s American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand fought to ensure that the American Rescue Plan contained this critical investment in broadband infrastructure.  

The funding will allow Dryden Fiber to extend service to thousands of unserved and underserved households in the Towns of Dryden and Caroline. Dryden Fiber will construct over 125 miles of fiber optic line to reach over 2650 new locations. Residents with commercial internet service will have a new option for access to Dryden Fiber’s faster and more affordable service. Dryden Fiber began servicing customers in November 2022. This new funding will help expedite the growth of the network to meet the extraordinary demand for Dryden Fiber’s service. 

US Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer stated, “A whopping nearly $9 million in federal funding I fought hard to deliver is on its way to Tompkins County to help close the digital divide. With this federal funding, thousands of homes will be connected to affordable, high-speed internet – meaning better access to jobs, healthcare, education and economic opportunity,” said Senator Schumer. “The Towns of Dryden and Caroline know broadband is not a luxury, it is a necessity, a utility as vital as electricity for success in our modern economy to ensure people can stay connected. This is a major boost for Tompkins County, and I am thrilled to see federal dollars from the American Rescue Plan I championed flowing to communities to further close the digital divide.” 

Reflecting on the recent success, Dryden Supervisor Jason Leifer stated, "On behalf of the Towns of Dryden and Caroline, I’d like to thank President Biden, Governor Hochul, Senators Schumer and Gillibrand, Josh Breitbart and the ConnectALL team for awarding Dryden Fiber $8.9 million dollars under the Municipal Infrastructure Program, so that we can provide fiber to the home internet service to unserved and underserved residents to the Towns of Dryden and Caroline. Our customer-centric team has worked hard since 2019 to launch Dryden Fiber and this grant provides us with the resources to accelerate the buildout and bring reliable, affordable, high-speed, fiber-based internet service to our residents and businesses. This will create jobs, support education, and improve the quality of life for the residents of our towns." 

Town of Caroline Supervisor Mark Wittmer added, “the Town of Caroline is so grateful for this critical funding that will establish high quality, affordable broadband service for our residents and businesses. I want to recognize our colleagues in Dryden for their vision and dedication to making municipal broadband a reality. The Town of Caroline is a real beneficiary of their effort and experience. I believe that Caroline will only be the first.”  

Dryden’s Deputy Supervisor Dan Lamb remarked, “this is a big win for the residents of Dryden and Caroline, who have lacked adequate internet access for too long. In this increasingly digital age, we must advance digital equity, so the benefits of broadband are offered to everyone. We want to show municipalities elsewhere that there is a better way for residents to get affordable service. Dryden Fiber is a data-driven project guided by multiple studies and a strong volunteer team that put us in a position to be successful when the federal funding came along.  We are extremely grateful to our residents, who have supported us every step of the way, and to our federal officials, President Biden, Senators Schumer and Gillibrand, who responded to our call for greater investment in public infrastructure.” 

Dryden Fiber Executive Director, David Makar stated, “I find a real partnership between the Town of Dryden, Town of Caroline, and the New York State ConnectALL Office. This project is an incredible opportunity to level the technology playing field by bringing broadband service to all unserved and underserved homes across these two towns. It's an honor to be part of this team at Dryden Fiber and to work closely with the team from ConnectALL. Years of hard work and seed planting from elected officials, citizen volunteers, and private partner businesses are now showing up ready to provide top-tier quality broadband service for the residents of Dryden and Caroline.”   

While Dryden Fiber began servicing customers in 2022, work on the project stretches back half a decade to when the Dryden Town Board commissioned a $25,000 feasibility study by Hunt Engineers Architects and Land Surveyors. The study was led by Ryan Garrison, Director of Technoloy at Hunt, who remains integral to the project. The study included a public survey that found overwhelming support for a publicly owned and operated system. The study also outlined the basic design, technology, and cost of the project.  Additional studies conducted by the Cornell Brooks School of Public Policy examined the project’s management, marketing, and financial modeling.  Informed by research and data that highlighted the project’s feasibility and sustainability, the Dryden Town Board formally established a Broadband Technical Advisory Committee in March of 2021, composed of tech-savvy residents.  Its membership includes Dryden community members who bring unique perspectives to the management of the network. The town appointed an executive director in February 2024.  

Dryden Fiber’s management and staffing structure is a combination of town employees and subcontractors. Administrative, financial, and decision-making tasks are handled by the broadband committee and town staff.  Construction and operation of the physical network is handled by subcontractors who meet with and report back to the executive director, administrative staff, and broadband committee. 

Dryden Fiber uses XGS-PON technology, the gold standard in broadband networks delivering 10 Gbps Symmetrical speeds using a Passive Optical Network (PON). Symmetrical service provides equal download and upload speeds. Dryden Fiber’s network is high capacity, supporting large numbers of users at extremely fast network speeds. The network is also passive in nature, having no powered components to repeat or amplify signal, thus reducing the points of failure.  

Passive networks are also extremely green and sustainable. Less powered components in the Central Office and throughout the system reduce electricity usage by 75% over traditional point to point active networks. PON networks are particularly sustainable due to the futureproof nature of fiber optics and reduction of materials required. Dryden Fiber’s infrastructure will serve the community for the next 40 years using one quarter of the electricity and materials of traditional fiber networks. 

The Dryden Fiber pricing strategy is to set a monthly price that can effectively compete with other ISPs in the marketplace. Dryden Fiber is a non-profit which will allow it to address its rates yearly to provide lower costs in the future.  

Dryden Fiber is a Municipal Internet Service Provider operated by the Town of Dryden, New York. Dryden Fiber seeks to provide a low cost, state-of-the-art internet service for all residents and businesses within the Town of Dryden. Launched in the spring of 2023, Dryden Fiber is now constructing the network across the Town and is adding new homes and business customers to the platform every day. Customers have no long-term contract and will find speeds to be 5x to 10x of other providers. For more information, visit www.drydenfiber.com 

 

Dryden Fiber team and guests at announcement 6-24-24

Back Row
Mark Wilson, Dryden Fiber Public Broadband Committee member; Austin Ponce, Regional Director for US Senator Kirstin Gillibrand; Tim Murray, Caroline Town Board; Jason Leifer, Town Supervisor, Town of Dryden; Mark Witmer, Town Supervisor, Town of Caroline; Dan Lamb, Deputy Town Supervisor, Town of Dryden; Ray Burger, Director of Planning, Town of Dryden; Leonardo Vargas-Mendez, Dryden Town Board; Dr. Anna Kelles, NY State Assemblyperson; Ciano Briga, Outreach Coordinator for Congressman Marc Molinaro
Front Row
David Makar, Dryden Fiber Executive Director; Kate Kelley-Mackenzie, Caroline Town Board; Stacey Dimas, Chief of Staff for NY State Senator Lea Webb