All New Yorkers need a choice of reliable and affordable high-speed Internet and telephone service. But many communities—particularly the Hudson Valley, in upstate NY, Brookhaven and Eastern Suffolk—are subject to a broadband/fiber optic monopoly.
When Congress enacted the Telecommunications Act of 1996, telephone and cable companies were supposed to enter each other’s markets and compete, driving down prices, improving service quality and fostering innovative new products. More than 20 years later, for millions of New Yorkers, that reality never came to fruition.
Verizon’s refusal to implement universal FiOS build-out has left entire areas of the state—especially upstate cities and the Town of Brookhaven—subject to a cable monopoly. This has hit low-income, upstate of-color, and rural communities hardest.
Where it’s built, the state-of-the-art Verizon FiOS fiber-optic network ends Time Warner or Cablevision monopolies. But Verizon is cherry-picking localities for FiOS.
What the Bill Would Do
- Direct the Public Service Commission (PSC) to determine within six months “the status of fiber optic services in NYS”, including identifying “communities without access to fiber optic services” or “communities where local franchises have not been complied with.”
- Within six months of the completion of the initial review the legislation further directs the PSC to “require construction or installation of fiber optic services by an internet service provider in communities in which fiber optic services are determined to be absent, insufficient or inadequate.”