ALBANY, NY – State Senator Michelle Hinchey (SD-46) issued the following statement today after the Senate Energy and Telecommunications Committee voted to advance the Comprehensive Broadband Connectivity Act (S4878A):
“If you live in Upstate New York, you, your family, or your business are likely to have suffered from insufficient broadband service and you know all too well that the Governor’s claim of 98% state coverage is just not accurate,” said Senator Hinchey.
“It’s hard to fix a problem when you don’t know the full extent, which is why we need accurate household-level mapping data to identify the service gaps across our state so that we can close them once and for all. That’s what the Comprehensive Broadband Connectivity Act will achieve. This is an issue that stymies economic development in our region, that forces our students to do their homework from a library parking lot, and prevents our seniors from receiving quality medical care at home through telehealth services. Access to reliable high-speed internet has become a basic necessity, and we won’t stop fighting until all of our homes and businesses across our state are fully connected.”
The Comprehensive Broadband Connectivity Act requires the Public Service Commission (PSC) to undertake a statewide assessment of broadband access, affordability, and internet speeds to help close the digital divide in New York State. The legislation also requires the PSC to produce a detailed coverage map on its website that indicates internet service by location and construct fiber optic services in communities with absent or low levels of service, among other provisions. S4878A, which passed both houses of the State Legislature nearly unanimously in July of 2020, was “pocket vetoed” by Governor Cuomo this past January. In addition to advancing through the committee process, the Senate has included the bill in its one-house budget resolution, which passed on Monday.