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Poloncarz proposes countywide high-speed internet network

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Erie County would take leadership in providing high-speed internet to under-served areas under a plan County Executive Mark Poloncarz will unveil in his State of the County address this week.

He says his ErieNet initiative would end a digital divide that is leaving some people behind.

Poloncarz says major internet providers have failed to meet the needs of residents in rural areas and city neighborhoods.

"It's my proposal for the county to invest up to $20 million for a high-speed, open access network -- 360 miles of line that will form the backbone of a complete fiber network for the whole county," Poloncarz said.

Poloncarz said local companies would then be solicited to link private homes to the county network.

In a story first reported in Sunday's Buffalo News, local technology experts say such a network would be a "game changer."

Poloncarz said he hopes all areas of the county will have access to high-speed internet by 2021.