Lawmakers push for better rural broadband internet

NY Capitol News

NEW YORK STATE (WSYR-TV) — Upstate Assemblymembers and Senators say the need for reliable broadband is a top issue of concern for constituents.

“This is like the Post Office was in the 1800s. It’s become a modern technological necessity,” said Assemblymember Robert Smullen.

From kids trying to complete their homework online, to farmers in need of broadband to grow their businesses, it’s an issue Rural Resources Chair Senator Rachel May says is “about basic functions of our society.”

May said, “To function in the modern world, to get a good education, to run a business, even for property values, it matters a lot that people have connectivity.”

While there are several reasons for the lack of reliable broadband in rural areas, May says, “It’s just genuinely hard to do if there’s just one house a mile down the road from anybody else, then that’s not cost-effective for a private company to put in the service to it.”

And other questions were explored.

“Is this a utility? Should it be regulated like phone service or television service?” May asked.

Senator May says ultimately, the goal is to review the testimony and come up with the next steps to improve reliable access.

Lawmakers say broadband reliability can even differ during the seasons, based on foliage and the height of crops, like corn.

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