On Thursday Erie County Executive Poloncarz's office released their choice of consultant to study the potential for further broadband development in the region. Out of the nine total responses to the RFP, the County chose ECC Technologies as their desired consultant, to the tune of $63,000. This isn't a bad choice at all, seeing as how the company already has experience working in Erie County, offering their expertise in the development of UB's network.
What we're most excited about, however, is that ECC Tech has been instrumental in the development of open access networks in New York State, Axcess Ontario and Southern Tier Network:
"These networks connect together over 500 miles of open access fiber-optic infrastructure in Ontario, Steuben, Schuyler, and Chemung Counties. These networks were built in partnership between public and private entities to enable economic growth in these regions."
This bodes well for the adoption of open-access in Erie County--something we're strongly in favor of, as open-access is essential for a competitive ISP marketplace. As it stands now, all the roads on the information superhighway are privatized, leading to the duopoly in service we currently see, as new network builds are prohibitively expensive for any new ISP looking to offer service.
Hopefully the Legislature will move forward without further delay, as they're already well over a month behind (approaching two months) the timeline outlined in the RFP. Within that timeframe, the consultant wouldn't be done with their work until the end of June. As it stands now, it might not be until sometime in August before ECC Tech can give the County their full recommendations for how to proceed in bringing the county better broadband infrastructure, and hopefully how we can all get fiber-to-the-home.