Evaluating broadband internet in rural NY

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — State hearings were held Tuesday to find out about the quality of broadband internet service in rural New York and to find a solution to make it better.

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,” Assemblymember Robert Smullen said. “It’s become a modern technological necessity.”

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.”

“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,” she said.

While there are several reasons for the lack of reliable broadband in rural areas, May continued.

“It’s just genuinely hard to do if there’s just one house a mile down the road from anybody else than that’s not cost effective for a private company to put in the service to it,” she said.

Other questions were also explored.

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

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

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