NYS to require Internet providers to provide $15/month option for low-income families

State News

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo was in Buffalo Friday morning to make an announcement at the Northland Workforce Training Center.

Joined by Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes and Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, the governor announced that it will be a requirement that internet providers offer a low-cost option for lower-income families in the state.

That cost is $15 per month. And for those who are unable to afford that, Cuomo announced a free plan for students and families that would come through ConnectEd New York. The money for that comes from Schmidt Futures and the Ford Foundation.

“High-speed internet is essential to our everyday lives, and as we continue to reopen our state and adjust to new norms that have been shaped by the pandemic, we need to make sure every household has access to affordable internet,” Governor Cuomo said. “Remote learning, remote working, and telemedicine are not going away. This program – the first of its kind in the nation – will ensure that no New Yorker will have to forego having reliable home internet service and no child’s education will have to suffer due to their economic situation.”   

Eric Schmidt, the former CEO of Google, was present at Friday’s conference. He spoke of the need for Internet access so that children are still able to learn. “It’s a moral duty. It’s the right thing to do,” he said.

New Yorkers who qualify for the low-cost rates are households who are eligible or receiving free or reduced-price lunch, supplemental nutrition assistance program benefits, Medicaid benefits, the senior citizen or disability rent increase exemptions, or an affordability benefit from a utility. 

In addition, Governor Cuomo launched the Affordable Broadband Portal to help New Yorkers find affordable broadband programs in their area. This website also includes critical information about the FCC’s Emergency Broadband Benefit Program ($50/month subsidy for broadband service, plus a one-time discount of up to $100 on computers and tablets). 

View the governor’s full briefing from Buffalo in the video player below:

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