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[Statement] AAPB Statement on Efforts in New York State to Undermine Community Broadband Choice


This week, the Institute for Local Self-Reliance reported that language added to a New York State Assembly budget bill threatens to undermine a signature program of Governor Kathy Hochul’s administration that seeks to give communities a better opportunity to choose the kind of broadband network that best meets the needs of their residents. The Municipal Infrastructure Program provides grant funding for communities building locally owned and controlled broadband networks. The new legislative language would mandate that the program’s funds would be available only to community broadband projects that seek to serve “unserved and underserved locations…,” rather than to any community that wants to choose local network ownership. According to ILSR, Charter Communications is the source of the new language. The Senate Budget bill does not include this language. The Senate and Assembly bills must be reconciled and completed by Monday, April 1.


Gigi Sohn, Executive Director of AAPB released the following statement:

 

There they go again – incumbent cable lobbyists are trying to stop the inevitable growth and popularity of public broadband networks through last minute and non-transparent legislative tricks. That they are attempting to stop competition and community choice is especially outrageous as those same companies are taking, and will continue to take, billions of taxpayer dollars to build and sustain their networks.


Thankfully, neither the state Senate nor the Governor supports this legislative language, which would ensure that no community networks can be built anyplace where the incumbents currently provide service. This anticompetitive and anti-consumer language should not be part of any budget that passes the state legislature.


AAPB wishes to thank Assemblymember Dr. Anna R. Kelles, Senator Rachel May, and other allies of public broadband in the state legislature for working to defeat this language. They recognize that communities should be free to choose what kind of broadband network best serves their residents and that public networks can provide the kind of universal service at affordable prices that incumbents often do not.


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Media Contact:

Aaron Alberico

202-744-0786

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