For nearly a decade, New York has pledged to provide universal high-speed broadband access, allocating over a half-billion dollars into expanding rural networks in some of the most remote areas of the state. While the efforts have yielded results — New York ranks second in the US in the percentage of the population with broadband available in their neighborhood — universal access remains elusive.
A narrow road runs parallel to the Adirondack Northway near Poke-O-Moonshine Mountain, the severe-looking peak located just south of Chesterfield. Dotted with pockets of homes and a summer camp, the road gives way to a series of arteries that snake between towering pines before eventually leading to Auger Lake. The site, about 22 miles south of Plattsburgh, is remarkable in both its beauty and frustration. For the past five years, Robin Gucker has been fighting an uphill battle: securing a steady internet connection.
She estimates the cluster of parcels has “poor or no service 90 percent of the time” through the provider, Frontier Communications, which offers DSL service through a phone line. This lack of reliable service, said Nancy Gucker Birdsall, director of the nearby North Country Camps, has caused significant headaches, affecting everything from communicating with parents to the submission of financial invoices.