Governor Hochul announces launch of mapping survey to examine quality and availability of broadband statewide

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Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the launch of a Broadband Mapping Consumer Survey to aid in the first-ever New York State-wide in-depth mapping study of broadband to ” identify the availability, reliability and cost of broadband services across the state. Properly assessing the prevalence and extent of broadband service has been a challenge not only in New York City, but nationally. The federal government is also engaged in a similar study, but the timing of its completion remains uncertain.

“High speed internet is the great equalizer in today’s world, as it is essential for accessing the basic services and information we all need in our daily lives.” Governor Hochul said. “With this groundbreaking study, we will help ensure that every part of the state – regardless of geographic and economic factors – has access to high-speed broadband.”

As requested in the executive budget adopted earlier this year, the State Civil Service Commission will study the availability, reliability and cost of high-speed and broadband internet services throughout the state. As part of this process, the Commission:

  • Identify areas at the census block level that are served by a single provider and assess state regulatory and statutory barriers related to providing full high-speed Internet access throughout the state;
  • Examine the technology available to identify the solutions that best support broadband Internet service in underserved or unserved areas, and make recommendations to ensure the deployment of this technology in underserved and unserved areas;
  • Identify instances where local governments have notified the Commission of suspected non-compliance with franchise agreements and instances of commission or departmental enforcement actions that have had a direct impact on internet access;
  • Identify places where insufficient access to broadband Internet and / or broadband service, and / or the persistent digital divide, has a negative social or economic impact on the community; and
  • Produce and publish on its website, a detailed internet access plan of the state, indicating access to the internet service by address.

The Board’s map will include advertised and experienced upload and download speeds; consistency and reliability of upload and download speeds, including latency; the types of Internet services and technologies available, including, but not limited to dial-up, broadband, wireless, fiber, coax or satellite; the number of Internet access providers available, the price of the Internet service available; and any other factor that the commission may deem relevant.

Unlike previous federal maps, which have been heavily criticized for lacking specificity and precision, the interactive map of New York will focus on the state of broadband service at the address level. As part of the research, the Commission sent letters to all vendors in New York City informing them that it has contracted with ECC Technologies, a New York-based company specializing in consulting in technology and communications, who will research detailed information about their broadband network. service information, including address-level service areas, upload and download speeds, type (s) of network infrastructure, tariffs and other necessary data, to use as the basis for the map and broadband report.

The Commission will publicly release its report and recommendations by May 2022. The report will include the total number of homes with high-speed Internet access and identify served, unserved and underserved areas. It will also conduct a regional survey of Internet service prices relative to median income at the county level; and all relevant statistics on consumer subscriptions. The purpose of the study is to help determine the steps necessary to ensure that all residential and commercial consumers in New York City have access to the Internet, as needed.

The Broadband Map Survey and Speed ​​Test can be viewed at: www.empirestatebroadband.com.

As part of this groundbreaking study, the Commission will hold two public hearings to solicit comments from the public and other stakeholders, including Internet service providers, telecommunications companies, labor organizations, public safety organizations, health care, education, agriculture and other businesses or organizations. The dates and locations of the hearings will be announced.

New York’s Comprehensive Connectivity Agenda for 2021 builds on the state’s national initiative to provide equitable Internet access to all New Yorkers. In 2015, the state embarked on the country’s largest and most ambitious broadband initiative, spending $ 500 million to expand internet access statewide. This investment, coupled with regulatory reforms, has broadened the reach of broadband so that today 98% of New York City homes have broadband access with download speeds of at least 100 Mbps. Additionally, New York City has taken critical steps to address the digital divide in schools by signing the Smart Schools Bond Act of 2014. This law made $ 2 billion available to school districts across the state for devices. technology and classroom enhancements to improve school connectivity, enabling schools to meet today’s distance learning challenges.

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