The pandemic and the ever-changing nature of the coronavirus have made it clear that high-speed internet access is a basic necessity for families, businesses and students. Yet even before the virtual turn caused by Covid-19, too many New Yorkers struggled to go online without reliable access to affordable high-speed internet.
This digital divide has only widened during the pandemic – but with new federal funding underway, we have an opportunity to improve broadband capabilities in New York and create access for all 9 million New -Yorkers without an affordable or reliable internet connection.
In November, President Biden signed into law his $1 trillion infrastructure bill, which contains $65 billion for states to expand broadband access.
This funding gives New York the opportunity to build broadband infrastructure for millions of New Yorkers. Providing consistent broadband access removes a significant barrier to the state’s recovery efforts, allowing more people to connect and stay safe.
But we know that the promise of funding does not guarantee that it will reach those who need it most. Historically, telecommunications companies have neglected to serve less profitable areas – one of the main reasons why we are in this situation today.