Statement from Senator Borrello on Increasing Rural Broadband Coverage:
"One of the many lessons to come out of the pandemic is the absolutely critical role of residential broadband access. As homes became remote workplaces and classrooms, the internet has been our lifeline to the world. Yet, many of our rural areas were left without that lifeline because they still lack access to a broadband connection. In 2020. So, while the Governor’s $500 million broadband initiative did improve access, it hasn’t achieved the 98 percent coverage it claims – nowhere close.
"Today, the Senate passed S.8805, which I cosponsored, that will require the public service commission to study the accessibility of broadband access in the state and produce a map outlining where coverage gaps still exist. We need that information to fix the problem, which is why I cosponsored it.
"However, there is another even bigger problem that needs to be addressed – the oppressive tax on fiber optic internet cables that was slipped into last year’s budget. The tax is so onerous, it actually exceeds the cost of running the fiber optic cable! It is killing broadband projects across upstate New York and leaving rural New Yorkers without the access they need to fully participate in work, school and life.
"We took a small step forward today, but there is a bigger fight ahead."