Area Assembly Members Vote Down Study

Both of the area’s state Assembly members voted against legislation to study the feasibility of a municipal broadband program in New York state.

The legislation, S.6041A/A.2037A, directs the state Public Service Department to perform the study in consultation with the state Urban Development Corporation and any other relevant state entities. The study would include the estimated costs of a municipal broadband program, state and federal resources available and the expertise needed for a municipality to administer the program. Legislators want the study to include data on internet speeds, telecommunications and broadband infrastructure.

The study is to be submitted to the governor and legislative leadership no later than one year after the bill is passed.

While both Assemblyman Andrew Goodell, R-Jamestown, and Assemblyman Joseph Giglio, R-Gowanda, voted against the bill, it was passed by both the state Senate and Assembly and will be sent to Gov. Andrew Cuomo for his signature.

According to a 2017 Buffalo News article, the town of Grand Island was considering a municipal broadband system, agreeing to take part in a $12,000 study to build a one-mile broadband network. The town didn’t want to be an internet provider. Instead, town officials wanted to create a broadband backbone that commercial providers could build off of to provide internet services to homes in the town.

Chenango County, likewise, conducted a broadband feasibility study in June 2016 because several areas of the county lacked broadband. The plan recommended the county build a collaborative to develop infrastructure to bring broadband internet to unserved areas of the county. The cost was estimated to be about $2.3 million to the county with the rest of the project cost coming from grants.