RS1: New York

State must push effort for fast, reliable internet everywhere: Editorial

Internet access, specifically high-speed capabilities, have become an essential form of communication and avenue for business. As John Penney of the Poughkeepsie Journal indicated in his February 2018 editorial piece, it is “inconceivable [that] there are places in New York that don’t have broadband access” (para. 2). Several state government officials including Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman are initiating efforts towards closing the digital divide at the local level, such as funding for bringing high-speed interest to all of New York state, including “investing more than $200 million in dozens of projects, with $4.4 million going to the Mid-Hudson region” (para. 4).

Such state-wide efforts are not without its issues, as seen by a lawsuit that was brought against Time Warner Cable, filed by a multitude of people who complained of getting slower internet speed than what was being paid for. What resulted was the state seeking “concessions from Charter Communications to expand its broadband infrastructure in New York in exchange for state approval of its merger with Time Warner” (para. 5), the product of which is now known as Spectrum.

Other government efforts in place involved designating money to help smaller cable companies grow their broadband capacities in more rural areas, especially upstate. With the rising trend of people working independently or remotely, reliable and fast internet access is imperative. However, the current administration repealed certain internet regulations established during the Obama administration, with the FCC lifting “net neutrality” rules that prevented providers from slowing down or blocking information or access on the internet, which, as Penney puts it, can only serve to “worsen the digital divide” (para. 8). Luckily for residents of New York, Gov. Cuomo issued an executive order “requiring internet providers to observe net neutrality or risk losing eligibility for government contracts” (para. 9).

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