Empire Access: Expansion in Ontario County viewed as positive

Empire Access, which this year bought the fiber-optic network in Ontario County, is expanding its reach by including customers in residential neighborhoods.

Among the latest hookups took place this past week in the city of Canandaigua. A fiber install Wednesday that began at the top of a utility pole had Kasey Wetmore in a bucket, while a crew down below connected a home on Niagara Street.

A few Empire employees explained the process and what Empire has been up to since it bought the fiber ring in the spring.

By accessing the fiber, company officials said it provides super high-speed service with up to 10 times faster connections than cable internet services. Fiber-optic internet uses light waves instead of an electrical signal. The technology enables Empire to offer “the fastest speeds available,” said Jim Baase, Empire Access chief operating officer.

Fiber-optic service is not prone to the slowdowns that cable can experience, as each customer has her or his own dedicated connection and is not affected by congestion and weather. Naples Town Supervisor Tamara Hicks said she can vouch for that, as the town and village government were the first in the county to sign on to Empire a few years ago and it has eliminated problems they experienced previously with cable.

“The internet would go down and we’d be out of service and now there’s no problem,” Hicks said.

Government services in the city of Canandaigua have also used Empire for awhile now. City Manager John Goodwin said the city went with Empire for internet and phone service about a year ago and are pleased.

“Now Empire will provide their service to many residents,” Goodwin said, adding that it is a welcome service and offers people an additional option of internet providers.

“Competition is good for the community,” Goodwin said.

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