Should The State Work To Expand High-speed Internet Access To More New Yorkers?

George Winner

February 26, 2007

Albany, N.Y.-- "Your Opinion Counts,"an onlineopinion survey sponsored by State Senator George H. Winner, Jr. (R-C, Elmira), is currently offering an opportunity for area residents to share their views on the need to expand high-speed, or broadband, Internet service into rural and other underserved areas of New York.

The new online survey comes as Winner, chairman of the Legislative Commission on Rural Resources, continues to focus on the need to bridge New York’s digital divide. Winner has introduced legislation to establish a new "broadband tax credit" as a way to encourage high-speed Internet providers to expand their service areas. In 2006 he sponsored a law that directed several state agencies to examine strategies for expanding high-speed Internet access to rural and other underserved areas. That report from the Empire State Development Corporation is expected to offer a broad set of recommended actions and help guide the "Universal Broadband Access" initiative recently proposed by Governor Eliot Spitzer in his 2007-08 executive budget.

Winner said that he welcomed Spitzer’s call for $50 million to begin to more clearly identify underserved areas, as well as compile a map of existing state and local infrastructure that could be used to expand broadband access.

"New Yorkers, no matter where, deserve the same access to high-speed broadband and it's great that they finally may have that chance," said Winner. "I couldn't be happier with Governor Spitzer's commitment to expanding affordable high-speed Internet throughout New York State, and I welcome his support. I look forward to working with him to continue to encourage widespread bipartisan support for closing our current digital divide."

Through "Your Opinion Counts," residents of Winner’s legislative district can currently register responses to the following three questions:

1.) Do you feel that New York State is doing enough to ensure that the expansion of affordable, high-speed Internet access makes its way to rural and other underserved communities?

2.) Do you feel that high-speed Internet access has become fundamental to the educational and economic success of the Southern Tier-Finger Lakes region and all of upstate New York?

3.) Do you believe it’s a high priority for New York State to offer tax and other financial incentives to encourage Internet service providers to expand into currently underserved areas?

Winner also encouraged respondents to share their own personal comments on the issue through e-mailby clicking below on CONTACT INFO.

The 53rd Senate District covers Chemung, Schuyler, Steuben and Yates counties, and a portion of Tompkins County (the city and town of Ithaca, and the towns of Enfield, Newfield, and Ulysses).

To access the survey,click below on YOUR OPINION COUNTS.