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Cuomo: Let’s Ensure High-Speed Internet Access For Every New Yorker


New York State is making progress toward its goal of providing 100 percent broadband internet access to every household and business by the end of 2018.

Internet connectivity is no longer a luxury—it is a necessity. The Cuomo Administration sees broadband service as vital a resource as running water and electricity to New York’s communities and is absolutely critical to the future of the state’s economy, education, and safety.

During a series of upstate appearances Wednesday, including a stop in Hudson, Governor Andrew Cuomo declared that quality, fast internet access is vital to ensuring New York remains economically competitive.

Cuomo has vowed that by 2018, every New Yorker will have access to high-speed internet making "Broadband for All" a reality.  About 2 million businesses and homes do not have high-speed service.  State Public Service Commission Chair Audrey Zibelman:  "For the first time, all of the state is going to have access to a program for low-income access to internet. Digital divide is a big issue. If you look across our demographics, people who are of the lowest income levels usually have access to internet at just about a quarter of what the rest of the state has and what the rest of us have. And so, one of the things that we'll have is that everybody will have access to 14.99 prices for internet and high speeds and we'll also not have credit checks for people who are eligible."

Announcements included the awarding of state grants that will support 18,000 miles of broadband infrastructure, serving 18 upstate libraries and 96 government buildings, health care facilities, colleges and public schools. Cuomo announced the awards of the first round of the New NY Broadband Program: the Capital Region is receiving $6.2 million assist in providing expanded high-speed internet to 338,613 homes.  "You cannot be competitive without access to broadband. It is Eisenhower's highway road system of the 50's. It was what Governor Smith did, DeWitt Clinton did with the Erie Canal, it's what we did with the New York State Thruway System. You have to be able to get there. Broadband is that basic a requirement."

The state has already identified 2 million Upstate homes and businesses that will, by early next year, be able to purchase 100 megabits-per-second service.

Cuomo added that New York  is spending $500 million to subsidize the coverage.

Additionally, as terms of its merger deal reached with the Public Service Commission, Charter Communications has agreed to add 145,000 homes in New York state to its network that are not currently serviced by Time Warner at no charge.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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