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State officials finally provide details to its broadband map study

Residents of New York are encouraged to visit a new website to fill out a survey and provide granular speed data.

ALBANY, N.Y. — Governor Hochul, who has repeated former Governor Cuomo's claims that New York has 98% broadband coverage, announced Monday details of the broadband map study that is being conducted by the Public Service Commission. 

The broadband study was legislation first approved in July 2020 by the state legislature. Governor Cuomo didn't act on it, and pocket vetoed it. At the time of the pocket veto, Cuomo's office said it was an unfunded program that the governor in good faith couldn't sign. 

The legislature quickly passed a new version of the bill and incorporated it into the budget earlier in 2021. 

The final map isn't expected until May 2022, at the earliest, but Hochul's office announced several ways that the public can participate in the study. 

The state launched a website, Empire State Broadband, where residents of the state can fill out a survey detailing their experience with broadband in the state, and also provide speed data. 

The survey asks whether a resident has active internet access at their home, how many providers are available at their address, and many more. 

"With this groundbreaking study, we will help ensure that every part of the state - regardless of geographical and economic factors - has access to high-speed broadband," Hochul said in a statement. 

The release also outlined what the Public Service Commission will be studying as part of this project:

  • Identify areas at a census block level that are served by a sole provider and assess any state regulatory and statutory barriers related to the delivery of comprehensive statewide access to high-speed internet;

  • Review available technology to identify solutions that best support high-speed internet service in underserved or unserved areas, and make recommendations on ensuring deployment of such technology in underserved and unserved areas;

  • Identify instances where local governments have notified the Commission of alleged non-compliance with franchise agreements and instances of commission or department enforcement actions that have had a direct impact on internet access;

  • Identify locations where insufficient access to high-speed internet and/or broadband service, and/or persistent digital divide, is causing a negative social or economic impact on the community; and

  • Produce and publish on its website, a detailed internet access map of the state, indicating access to internet service by address.

The state says the study will focus on broadband access at the address level, which is different than the heavily criticized federal method.

The state of Georgia released its own broadband map in 2021, and showed considerably different data and access than the FCC data does. 

Two public forums will be scheduled where service providers and lawmakers can listen to feedback. 

While the map will be released in May 2020, the state has not disclosed how long people can fill out the broadband survey.


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