By BRIAN KELLY
NICHOLVILLE — Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced Thursday that Slic Network Solutions President Philip J. Wagschal is the first recipient of the state’s “Broadband Leadership Award,” the only person statewide to be honored in the newly created New York State Broadband Champion Awards.
The awards, presented at the second state Broadband Summit in Albany, recognize high-achieving leaders who work to expand broadband access across the state. More than 300 national, state and local broadband leaders, as well as decision-makers in the broadband and technology sectors, met to discuss emerging technologies and new developments in the industry.
The leadership award presented to Mr. Wagschal is given to an individual or company who has provided a major influence on the direction and success of broadband development in the state and has dedicated time and leadership abilities to establish successful practices, which expand broadband infrastructure, according to a statement from the governor’s office. The statement says that Mr. Wagschal “has been a leader in bringing Internet connectivity to rural New York for more than 25 years.”
“He was the creative force that grew Nicholville Telephone’s local Internet access provider from conventional dial-up to the fastest-in-the-nation technology and continues to lead technical and local markets today,” the statement said.
Mr. Wagschal was recognized for his vision for broadband and his dedication to bringing it to fruition, which might be best exemplified by his company’s pursuit and receipt of federal stimulus funding, as well as several state broadband grants, including Connect NY,. The funds have afforded the installation of more than 800 miles of middle-mile and last-mile fiber to extend broadband reach to 6,000 unserved or underserved homes.
“Access to high-speed Internet is crucial to helping businesses compete and communities to remain connected in the 21st century economy,” Gov. Cuomo said.
Other broadband awards went to companies or municipal entities. They include “Most Innovative Broadband Project” to the Queens Library; “Most Collaborative Broadband Project/Program” to Clarity Connect Inc., Tompkins and Cayuga counties; “Best Broadband Adoption Initiative/Program” to the City of New York’s Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications; and “Economic Leadership Award” to Southern Tier Network.