ALBANY – New York lawmakers are eyeing legislation designed to reduce internet costs while increasing accessibility for residents across the state.
Even over a year into the pandemic, some New Yorkers are still struggling to access reliable internet for a reasonable price. That’s the reason why State Senator Michelle Hinchey is taking a stand.
“I have constituents that take every Zoom meeting from their car from a library over 20 minutes away,” said Hinchey.
Senator Hinchey and Assemblymember Carrie Woerner are pushing a bipartisan bill that would help to decrease costs and make it easier for internet lines to be installed on telephone and utility poles. The lawmakers say that this will especially benefit rural areas.
“The current regulatory environment, the combination of laws and regulations have driven up the cost of delivering broadband from a break-even point of four houses per mile to now near twelve houses per mile,” explained Woerner.
A separate bill has also been created that would allow the Public Service Commission to regulate and oversee broadband, which is designed to make providers more accountable. It has yet to be signed into law.
“I think that these are complementary efforts that need to happen,” says Woerner.
Six years ago, the state of New York created a $500 million program to invest in broadband access. Now, this budget also holds a rule that internet providers must offer internet to low-income households for $15 per month.
Funds have also been provided to the Public Service Commission to map and study broadband across the state of New York.