Metzger’s broadband bill: Nothing to brag about

| 17 Aug 2020 | 04:08

    Can you believe there are New Yorkers living without access to broadband service or high-speed and quality Internet?

    For years now, disconnected New Yorkers have expressed these concerns to their representatives in Albany.

    As our country battles the COVID-19 pandemic, people are relying on the Internet more than ever before. Offices and schools have made quick transitions to online platforms, where meetings can be held virtually.

    Senator Metzger’s bill to address this broadband issue in New York state falls well short. This bill requires the Public Service Commission to evaluate and compile a report on a problem we already know exists. Her bill simply allows Albany bureaucrats to continue to delay access to the Internet for so many rural residents across our state.

    If Senator Metzger wants to close the “urban and rural divide” regarding broadband, she should focus on repealing the broadband fee passed in 2019.

    This fee, a tax she voted for, has led companies to abandon their projects due to a 60 percent increase in construction costs.

    Essentially, this tax, not the actual cost of the broadband service, alienates many residents in rural New York communities from gaining access to quality Internet.

    This isn’t about just simply making progress, it’s about acting upon campaign promises and bridging this broadband divide. Senator Metzger must do better to deliver Internet access to rural communities; kicking the can down the road solves nothing.

    Meaghan Shea