As part of their continuing effort to broaden Wayne County’s appeal to potential employers, the Wayne Economic Development Corporation (WEDCO) has started a committee to explore the possibility of bringing broadband connectivity to the entire county.



As part of their continuing effort to broaden Wayne County’s appeal to potential employers, the Wayne Economic Development Corporation (WEDCO) has started a committee to explore the possibility of bringing broadband connectivity to the entire county.

Long recognized as an imperative for attracting good jobs, WEDCO Executive Director Mary Beth Wood says her organization has wanted to start working toward such a project for years. However, She said WEDCO has been too busy building infrastructure in recent years to dedicate resources to a county-wide broadband initiative.

Now, Wood says, the timing is right to start.

To that end, a small group within WEDCO has started looking at what might be involved with starting such a program. However, Wood says it might be quite a while before the initiative bears fruit. At this point, she says, they don’t even know what the program might cost.

“It’s way too early... to put dollar figures on it,” Wood explained, “But we’re starting it now. We’re really just starting this initiative, because there’s certainly a need in Wayne County for it. That need has been verified by previous studies from grants through the region.

“We know that we have adequate service in some areas, and certainly inadequate service in other areas — predominately the northern part of the county. So really, the underlying reason for even looking at this is to get better technology to the county.”

Wood says neighboring Lackawanna County is also looking at a county-wide broadband initiative, which provides WEDCO with a good template to begin researching the possibilities and the implications for  residents as well as the business community.
 
Among the business possibilities that would open up with widespread broadband connectivity, Wood says, is the potential for telecommuting.

“For example,” she explained, “We are located very closely to some of the major metro areas, and with enhanced broadband we could have great connectivity to those regions for satellite offices or even telecommuters to want to work in their home offices.

“If you’re going to work in today’s business world,” Wood suggested, “you need to be able to transfer data via the Internet. And if you want to be competitive in the future years, you want to be able to do that in a secure, reliable and cost effective manner.”