New York has much work to do to fulfill its goal of expanding broadband internet to underserved areas of the state.
Through the New NY Broadband Program established in 2015, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said that more than 99 percent of state residents would have access to high-speed internet. The initiative launched with a $500 million investment. A substantial number of New Yorkers have been provided access to high-speed internet over the past five years, according to the website for the state Broadband Program Office.
But the drive to expand internet access has been hampered with some significant problems. One has been the failure of some vendors to complete the work they pledged to carry out. Another is the stifling fee imposed by the state upon fiber optic cable companies to build lines in state-controlled rights of way.
So there are many challenges that installers and state authorities must overcome to ensuring most people have access to broadband internet. As this has hit rural areas hard, Lewis County is working with the Development Authority of the North Country to gauge the quality of service now being offered to residents.
“Despite attempts by the state to bring broadband high speed internet service to every household in the county, there are still pockets of the county with no access or slow, unreliable service,” according to a story published Nov. 7 by the Watertown Daily Times. “As a result, the Lewis County [Board of Legislators] has joined forces with [DANC] to launch a new effort to figure out exactly who has what and, in the wake of the ongoing [novel coronavirus] pandemic, who needs what. A survey about internet availability and satisfaction is now live on the Lewis County website for all county residents, organizations and businesses.”
This will help Lewis County and DANC pinpoint where specific problems exist. The survey responses will help those designing solutions to vexing concerns, and we commend everyone involved in this endeavor. Visit https://www.lewiscounty.org or call 315-377-2000 for more information.