The ability for people to work and communicate remotely has been emphasized by the Coronavirus pandemic.

WIVB-TV reports that with this in mind several groups are urging Governor Andrew Cuomo to sign off on the Comprehensive Broadband Connectivity Act.

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“With remote schooling in so many places in the state, school children are dependent on internet access even more than they have been previously,” said Common Cause New York Executive Director Susan Lerner.

Education and Businesses with employees working remotely are areas that have forced a bigger reliance on internet access.  Another area is elections.

“Everything the Board of Elections puts out sends you to an internet website,” Lerner said. “In order to find out are you registered, in order to request an absentee ballot, in order to find out where your polling place is, so, so much of the information that voters need has transitioned to online. Even when you receive a mailer, often it tells you for more detailed information, go online to the website of the board of elections.”

In July of this year, the New York State Legislature passed the Comprehensive Broadband Connectivity Act with overwhelming bipartisan support. According to sponsors of the bill, this legislation requires that the Public Service Commission to examine internet speeds, costs, and other factors that together affect broadband access so that we can fully close the digital divide in New York State.

While the state invested $500 million in broadband in 2015,  many rural areas in Upstate New York still did not have 100 megabits per service availability as of last June.

The Governor is in the process of reviewing the Comprehensive Broadband Connectivity Act legislation.


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