Slic works toward broadband expansion for thousands

Brandon Tyo, an employee for Slic Network Solutions, installs fiber-optic cable in Bangor in October 2017. (Provided photo — Watertown Daily Times)

NICHOLVILLE — Thousands of homes in rural northern New York are slated to receive high-speed internet from a local provider in the next year to 18 months.

Slic Network Solutions, which serves about 8,500 customers, plans to install 850 miles of fiber-optic cable through St. Lawrence, Franklin, Essex and Washington counties, and 230 miles of fiber in Essex and Warren counties for most homes west of Route 28N, Chief Operating Officer Kevin Lynch said in an emailed statement.

“In the coming weeks and months we will be extending service into Newcomb, Black Lake, the Lake Titus and Mountainview Lake area, as well as Keene and Keene Valley,” he said.

The additional infrastructure will assist Slic in its multi-year effort to broaden its coverage area to almost 15,000 homes, an effort backed with $47 million in planned federal, state and private investments.

The state has supported the company’s expansion efforts with about $30 million through the New NY Broadband Program. The $500 million program aims to provide high-speed internet to unserved and underserved areas across the state, particularly in rural areas, according to the state broadband office.

“With the strong support of the Empire State Development and the Broadband Program Office, Slic has been investing millions of dollars into the local economy as we expand state of the art fiber to the home technology to some of the most remote areas of the state,” Lynch said.

Slic brought broadband internet to 1,200 houses and installed 200 miles of fiber-optic cable last year. The telecommunication service provider also acquired Keene Valley Video in the summer and the former Hamilton County Cable Television in Wells in the fall, Lynch said.

“We continue to add customers across our service territory, especially in Bellmont, Lyon Mountain, Schroon Lake, Nicholville, and most recently in Minerva,” he said.

Other companies like Verizon and Mohawk Networks, of Hogansburg, have also planned efforts to bring broadband internet service to unserved and underserved areas.

Spectrum brought high-speed internet to 6,200 properties in Jefferson County last year, and has buildouts planned for Lewis and St. Lawrence counties. The state established a requirement for Spectrum’s parent company, Charter Communications Inc., to expand its coverage area as part of its 2016 merger with Time Warner Cable.