Seward Calls for Rural Broadband Expansion

September 17, 2019

ALBANY, 09/17/19 -- State Senator James L. Seward (R/C/I/Ref – Oneonta) today joined members of the senate and assembly for a public hearing on rural broadband expansion in New York State.  Senator Seward’s district is comprised of all or parts of nine, mostly rural, counties with large swaths of the region lacking high-speed broadband.  As a strong advocate for broadband expansion, Senator Seward has consistently pressed for state funding and regulations to accelerate access.

“Too much of my senate district remains in the dark without high-speed broadband or cellular phone service, and that holds the entire region back.  Whether you are discussing education, economic development, or community growth, the conversation will inevitably turn to the lack of high-speed broadband.   Steps have been taken to connect more portions of New York State, but the job is far from complete.  Along with access to high-speed broadband, affordability and reliability must also be leading priorities,” said Senator Seward.

Today’s public hearing featured testimony from state agencies including the New York State Broadband Program Office and the Public Service Commission, local government officials, school leaders, rural electric cooperative associations, and business representatives.

“New York needs a comprehensive strategy to reach universal high-speed broadband accessibility.  Today’s hearing confirmed what many already know – we are not there yet.  Constituents contact my office every day, they feel excluded and forgotten because they do not have high speed broadband.  Several years ago, I supported $500 million in state funding to help expand broadband coverage.   I stand ready to approve an additional state expenditure or other policies to complete the job,” Seward concluded.