State Senator James Seward (R-51) yesterday (September 17) joined other members of both the Senate and Assembly for a public hearing on rural broadband expansion in rural parts of New York.
His 51st Senate District encompasses all or parts of nine mostly rural counties, including Cortland, with many of them containing areas that remain without regular access to high-speed broadband.
Yesterday’s hearing also featured testimony from state agencies including the New York State Broadband Program Office and the Public Service Commission, along with local government officials, school leaders, rural electric cooperative associations, and business representatives.
“Too much of my senate district remains in the dark without high-speed broadband or cellular phone service, and that holds the entire region back. Whether you are discussing education, economic development, or community growth, the conversation will inevitably turn to the lack of high-speed broadband. Steps have been taken to connect more portions of New York State, but the job is far from complete. Along with access to high-speed broadband, affordability and reliability must also be leading priorities.
New York needs a comprehensive strategy to reach universal high-speed broadband accessibility. Today’s hearing confirmed what many already know – we are not there yet. Constituents contact my office every day, they feel excluded and forgotten because they do not have high speed broadband. Several years ago, I supported $500 million in state funding to help expand broadband coverage. I stand ready to approve an additional state expenditure or other policies to complete the job.”