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Electronic access in Clifton and Fine is expanding

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Electronic access in the towns of Clifton and Fine is expanding with two cell towers in the works and with Slic Network Solutions stringing fiber optic broadband cable for high-speed Internet.

Slic hopes to begin telephone and Internet services in Star Lake by mid-June. Wanakena and Cranberry Lake will follow.

“There’s a lot of pent-up demand,” said Slic President Philip J. Wagschal. “They’ve been asking for service for a long time.”

With the assistance of more than $30 million in federal funding, Slic is expanding broadband Internet access to rural and underserved areas of St. Lawrence County and part of Franklin County.

Improved cell phone connections are also in the region’s future.

The road for a cell tower behind the Star Lake Fire Hall is being built.

“The tower will definitely be constructed this year,” Fine Supervisor Mark C. Hall said. “Then it’ll be a matter of them activating it.”

The Adirondack Park Agency recently approved a permit for a 100-foot-tall cell tower on Columbian Road in Cranberry Lake. The tops of both towers will be concealed as simulated trees and both will have underground utilities.

The St. Lawrence County sheriff’s office is buying equipment for the tower in Cranberry Lake that will improve emergency radio communications in the area.

Sheriff Kevin M. Wells recently asked county legislators for an inter-departmental transfer of $7,350 to pay for the equipment, including a repeater on the tower.

“It’s our one opportunity to get it up for a reasonable amount of money,” Sheriff Wells said. “It will definitely improve emergency services and police communications. This is finally, after all these years, going to take care of all the dead spots.”

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