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Dryden Fiber to expand throughout town, nearby Caroline after ‘unprecedented’ grant

Knickerbocker Bed Frames Director of IT Jim Smith uses Dryden Fiber. The modem is situated amongst other cords.
Aurora Berry
Director of IT for Knickerbocker Bed Frames Jim Smith uses Dryden Fiber. The modem is situated amongst other cords.

The internet company owned and operated by the town of Dryden will be expanding its reach dramatically thanks to new grant funding. The provider said it will reach new addresses in Dryden and the nearby town of Caroline.

Like many rural areas in New York, the town of Dryden has struggled to get affordable and reliable internet to its residents. After unsuccessful negotiations to pull internet giants into parts of the town, Dryden created its own internet service provider to meet the needs of its customers, called Dryden Fiber. It’s the only entity of its kind in the state.

New York’s ConnectALL office recently awarded $8.9 million to the service provider through the Municipal Infrastructure Program, a windfall that the town described as “unprecedented”.

The money will be used to reach all of the addresses that are considered unserved or underserved by internet providers in Dryden and Caroline. That means addresses with internet below a certain speed will fall under the expansion.

David Makar, Dryden Fiber’s executive director, said it will make a big difference in connectivity for these households.

“So from dial-up speed waiting for things to download, not being able to use any video to be able to do streaming, video conferences, video calls, video education, telehealth. It's a huge change in the experience of being online,” Makar said.

Dryden Fiber is tasked with expanding its infrastructure to include locations with bad or nonexistent internet. But Makar said the expansion will also provide a new option for people who already have internet access.

“So as we're going to neighborhoods where they are underserved or unserved, we can also reach all the homes on the way who only have one choice, and we can give them other choices.”

The project has a 2026 deadline for using the money to expand.

“30 months from now, we will have completed the construction of the entire network across the town of Caroline and through all the unserved and underserved locations of the town of Dryden,” Makar said.

He expects the project will start connecting customers in Caroline by next year..

Makar said he’s open to discussing the project with other municipalities who want to connect to Dryden Fiber or learn from the project.

Over 2,600 locations in the two towns will gain internet access under the new expansion, according to Dryden Fiber.