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September 17, 2014 - 7:49pm

True high-speed Internet finally coming to Batavia

posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business.

A family-owned communication company that has provided phone service in Genesee County for more than 100 years is bringing true high-speed Internet to Batavia.

Empire Access, an affiliate of Empire Telephone, with a location in East Pembroke, is installing fiber optics throughout the city.

The network will be able to deliver business and residential service with download speeds of 100 megabits and upload speeds of 20 megabits.

Verizon DSL only offers a 10mb down and 1mb up service in Batavia and Time-Warner's top-end service locally is 30mb down.

Senior VP Jim Baase said the prices will be better, much better, too. That 100mb/20mb service will cost only $50 a month.

This is the sixth market Empire is introducing high speed Internet in, Baase said.

"We've had great success competing against companies like Time Warner and Verizon," Baase said.

Business customers can order high-speed Internet now from Empire, said local manager Tom Hare, and delivery is about 30 days out currently.

The first neighborhood to get residential service will be in the northeast quadrant of the city, Hare said, starting in about three our four months. The rest of the city should be covered within six months.

Empire is also offering phone service over the fiber network, as well as cable TV and security systems.

All of the regulatory hurdles at the state and federal levels have been cleared, Baase said, and Empire is just starting negotiations with the city for a cable franchise agreement.

As previously reported, the city is also in the midst of negotiating a new agreement with Comcast.

Empire Telephone is a third-generation, family-owned business based in Prattsburgh. For most of its history, it's been a rural telephone network in such places as East Pembroke, Pembroke and Indian Falls where it has some 700 telephone customers (that area is also scheduled to receive a fiber network service from Empire).

Baase said Empire decided to bring a fiber because it's an open market (Verizon has shown no interest in introducing FiOS here) and it will have a large enough customer base to support the network.

"It's a very attractive market for us," Baase said. "It's densely populated and we don't like to over build where there's FiOS. We don't like to go where there's already a company like ours."

On its marketing material, Empire Access bills itself as "The Local Company," and Empire will have an office in Batavia (while maintaining a switching station in East Pembroke, where the office was located). Baase said Empire will employ people locally and hire more and more people as its local network grows.

Another Empire advantage, Baase said, is when you call customer service your call is immediately routed to a real person, rather than a long telephone tree of button pushing.

Empire has plans to expand into other parts of the county, primarily along Route 5, once the Batavia network is built.

Interested business customers (not residential yet) can contact Tom Hare at (585) 813-9861 or [email protected]. (e-mail address corrected)

Top photo: High speed fiber-optic cable ready for installation in Batavia.

Tom Hare in Empire Telephone's current switching room in East Pembroke.

Empire Telephone's longtime facility in East Pembroke.

Brenda Ranney
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Great news I can't wait to give TW the boot !!!

Kevin Manne
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Great news. Been a happy Empire customer for years. Looking forward to fiber Internet access!

Lori Silvernail
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Bam!

John Roach
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In the 70's when I lived on Pratt Road, I had them for phone service. They were great. Look forward to seeing them come.

Cj Gorski
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I thought I was going to have to wait until Google Fiber came to town. Goodbye Time Warner.

Bob Price
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Hope they reach into Stafford-Time Warner is just too damn expensive,and with no competition, don't see an end to their semi-annual rate increases.....

jeff saquella
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50 bucks a month???....sorry I wont be buying that....my speed is just fine with tw I don't need blazing speed.....now if they lowered it to say....35 a month I would jump in

dennis wight
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I'm paying TW $45, with taxes and surcharges, per month for "up to" 10mb. I can't wait for Empire! Kiss my ASS, TW !!

Jason Post
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If you're in the market primarily for basic internet a Fiber network is, strictly speaking, overkill. For anybody currently paying Time Warner for service at 20 Mb/s this is 5 times the speed for the same price. For anybody buying better than 20 Mb/s this a price cut and a service boost in the same package. Can't wait to hear when they go residential.

Kevin Manne
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Howard, is the email address for Tom in the story correct? My message to him bounced.

Howard B. Owens
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I just corrected the e-mail address.

Kevin Manne
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Thanks!

Jason Crater
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This is really exciting news! I'll be glad to dump TW.

Doug Yeomans
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I think you mean 100 megabits, and 20 megabits, respectively. 100 megabits per second translates to about 12.5 Megabytes, and 20 megabits translated to about 2.5 Megabytes.

Doug Yeomans
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I sure hope they plan on saturating FiOS into the surrounding "rural" areas that really aren't so rural anymore.

Dave Olsen
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I've had phone service and DSL from Empire for many years, excellent service.

Mike Weaver
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More competition is better. I expect that even those that don't switch will be getting offers to lower their price with the existing suppliers.

Ed Hartgrove
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They will, eventually, Doug. But, you probably don't want to hold your hand over your 'you-know-what', waiting for it.

I remember when "cable" first got to Pavilion. My brother wanted to get it for my mother as a b'day present. Well, the cable ran down Route 63 (Burleigh hill), but not down River Road. BUT, the cable company said, they would run the lines to my parent's house, IF they paid for it. They quoted my brother a price of "approximately $1000 - PER FOOT, give or take a couple bucks".

He declined. Several years later, they installed a sat. dish, and, as of this past spring, the dish was still there, and still working fine. Of course, for years now, they've sent hundreds & hundreds of 'flyers' trying to get cable to each and every house on River Road, but they never got any money out of THAT home. I've got to think that, somewheres along that 25-year period, the cable company started losing money, by quoting such a ridiculous price. Afterall, they do run cable up that road, now, and KNEW back then that they eventually would.

tom hunt
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It sounds from the tone of the article that at this point it is a marketing feeler. Have they started to string the backbone? I remember a discussion a couple of months ago on this forum about FIOS. Some people thought it was already in Batavia as they saw workmen stringing fiber optical cable. Or could it had been the Empire people doing the work?

Thomas Hare
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Hi folks, and thanks for your comments. Actually it is our own Empire crew completing the fiber network and we are very much excited to be serving the Batavia area. If you are a business owner please contact me at [email protected] or 585-813-9861 for a no obligation quote on Empire Access telecommunication services...thanks again!

Kyle Couchman
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Yep I know they strung the poles on swan st between Main and Ellicott I watched them do it. They said it was FIOS goin in. I just assumed it meant Verizon FIOS.

Phil Ricci
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Love it!

I am looking forward to FiOS!!!

Cheryl Liles-Ch...
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Will this be offered on the east side of Batavia? Roads off 33 , Clinton St. Rd. that TW doesnt even cover , so folks are at the mercy of Verizon. I hope so.

Patricia Ambrose
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Well, I only hope it come to East Pembroke quickly, for I live right down the street from the Main Building and my service with Empire many times sucks. Sorry to say but it does. I constantly get disconnected and have to reset the box. Sometimes It works and sometimes not, but its always when your in the middle of doing something important on the net. Yes I have had it serviced and looked at many times. So I can only hope FIOS will be better. I think they should have started in East Pembroke tho and gone to Batavia 2nd. Just my opinion. But please hurry.

jeff saquella
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dennis your paying too much...I have the fastest speed tw offers for 35 a month....call and bargain with them they will lower your cost

Brett DeKruger
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Please bring the service to Le Roy, PLEASE !!

Mark Janofsky
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Can't help but wonder why no other news outlet is picking-up this story.

Peter O'Brien
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They know who butters their bread.

Keith Gierke
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I so hope they come to Corfu. TW is making things worse,

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