Statement by Senator Borrello on Governor’s Failure to Sign Broadband Connectivity Act

ALBANY – Senator George Borrello today released the statement below on Governor Cuomo’s pocket veto of the Comprehensive Broadband Connectivity Act (S.8805/A.6679). The measure, which Senator Borrello co-sponsored, would have required the Public Service Commission to study the availability, affordability and reliability of high-speed internet in all areas of the state and provide a report and detailed map within one year. 

“It is incredibly disappointing that the Governor has chosen to turn his back on rural New Yorkers and their continuing struggle for high-speed internet access by failing to enact this important measure. This pandemic has laid bare the inequities and gaps in broadband access that remain a reality in many upstate regions. Residents and schoolchildren who lack this essential technology are being left behind educationally, economically and socially.  

“In his State of the State address the Governor once again cited his widely-disproven claim that 98 percent of the state now has access, a “success” that he attributes to his Broadband for All program. However, that figure has been repeatedly discredited by community-level surveys undertaken by local governments, by advocates such as Common Sense media which found 27 percent of New York’s schoolchildren lack access, and by a large, bi-partisan contingent of state and federal officials who have cited the inaccuracy of using census blocks as the metric to determine broadband coverage in a given region.  

“He may think that by nixing a statewide survey, he can prevent the truth from coming to light. However, the truth is already out. Suppressing this study and continuing to increase burdens on broadband providers with excessive taxes, fees and regulations is actually widening the digital divide in our state and denying critically important educational and economic opportunities to our children and residents.”