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Cable TV, Internet, phone service to improve Bellmont communication

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BELLMONT –– Slic Network Solution’s cable television service is coming to the northern part of the town and town board members are setting in motion the process to approve a franchise agreement.

Supervisor Bruce Russell said during Monday’s board meeting that he has faxed a copy of the agreement to town attorney Brian Stewart for him to look over. The next step is for the town to hold a public hearing, after which the board can vote on it.

“The good part is it is finally under way,” Mr. Russell said.

He said the cable package is supposed to include popular national channels such as Fox, ABC and CBC, “plus many others.”

There is a franchise fee associated with the agreement, according to Mr. Russell, but he said “it’s way too early” to discuss what this will be.

It should take about a year for residents in the northern part of the town covered by the $1.012 million state grant awarded to bring high-speed Internet, phone and now cable service through Slic to be hooked up Mr. Russell said.

The covered area extends along county Route 24 to Brainardsville past the town offices and highway department garage. It also includes wireless service for Lower Chateaugay Lake.

Phil Wagschal of Slic attended the Bellmont town meeting in November and said that the beginning stages of setting up the broadband network are complete.

“We’re basically done the engineering,” he said at the time, but added there’s currently no fiber optics installed in Bellmont.

As for the southern part of the town, including Mountain View and Owls Head, the wait could be longer depending on the outcome of a pending $1.1 million state grant application.

“Now obviously in the town of Bellmont right now we restart the Civil War again because the northern section of the town is first and that’s not good,” Mr. Russell said. “The northern section of the town gets the high speed Internet, the telephone systems and the cable TV first.”

Mr. Russell noted that Gov. Andrew Cuomo allocated $6 million to Empire State Development for north country broadband initiatives in mid-December. He said he plans to email town board members the contact information for someone at ESD to send letters of support for the grant.

“We remain hopeful,” Mr. Wagschal said in December.

Mr. Russell spoke of the benefits of having high-speed Internet and phone service in part of Bellmont.

“Remember our planning with [Franklin County] Emergency Service?” he said, referring to the town’s emergency plan. “This is a communication system that will be very direct and very clear.”

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