Assemblymember Didi Barrett (D-Dutchess/Columbia) wrote a letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo today calling on New York State to expand broadband infrastructure and urged the State to finish the work promised and partially fulfilled by the Broadband for All Initiative.
“I know you understand, as I do, that broadband is the great connector for this moment in history – like roads, rail, electricity and telephones in past centuries” said Assemblymember Barrett. “But the reality is that too many New York households, businesses and communities, particularly in rural and ‘last-mile’ locations, do not yet have the infrastructure to access high speed internet. So, even in the year 2021, these New Yorkers cannot yet fully participate in the 21st century economy.
While the Governor has made it a budget priority to provide affordable broadband to underserved New Yorkers in the 2021-2022 budget, this proposal is only viable for those with existing internet access. Across the State, many residents, particularly in our rural communities, do not have the broadband infrastructure needed to access this program.
“In reality, Governor, far fewer than 98% of households in New York State have access to adequate broadband, though this inaccurate statistic keeps being repeated” said Barrett in the letter, pointing to the statistic the Governor has frequently cited in reference to the Broadband For All Initiative. “New York State must re-engage in this issue and address the infrastructure, as well as the affordability obstacles impeding high-speed broadband access across the state.”