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Hochul approves broadband legislation

Gov. Kathy Hochul delivers virtual update to New Yorkers on State’s progress combating COVID-19 on Dec. 24. (Courtesy of Gov. Kathy Hochul’s office)

ALBANY — A bill recently signed by Gov. Kathy Hochul will help cut red tape around expanding broadband, North Country assemblymen say.

Both Assemblyman Matt Simpson (R,C,I-Horicon) and Assemblyman Billy Jones (D-Chateaugay Lake) had co-sponsored bill A.2396.

Pole attachers

The bill will “help expand broadband access in our most rural areas and bring costs down by lowering the price of broadband attachments to already existing cable poles,” Simpson said in a press release.

“Under this bill, pole owners can no longer threaten pole attachers with the cost to replace the pole entirely and costs will be distributed between all parties, making the relationship more equitable. This bill lowers the cost of buildout and levels the playing field which will welcome broadband infrastructure instead of discouraging it. Improving broadband is an urgent need of our constituents and it remains one of my top legislative priorities. This piece of legislation is a bipartisan win, and I will continue to work with anyone on common sense legislation that betters our communities.”

Delayed projects

Assemblyman Jones said this bill is another step in the broadband buildout process that has been ongoing for many years.

“Last week, I was pleased to hear that Governor Hochul signed a bill that I co-sponsored that will require any contracts for cable television or broadband attachments to utility poles include all poles within a given municipality,” Jones said in a press release.

“So many folks across the North Country have reached out to my office because they’ve waited months — even years — for a broadband project to be completed and it is unacceptable that bureaucratic red tape has delayed these build-outs so New Yorkers have to wait even longer for broadband service.”

More work to be done

The push to expand broadband will continue for the foreseeable future, Jones said.

“This bill is an important step for streamlining the broadband buildout process, but there is more work to be done to continue to expand broadband across the North Country. During the upcoming legislative session, I will continue to push to remove additional barriers such as right-of-way fees that are preventing broadband providers from building out in our communities,” Jones said.

“The bottom line, and goal, is to get internet and broadband service out to areas that don’t have it here in the North Country.”

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