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Cuomo Vetoes Bill To Study Municipal Broadband Programs

New York state will not be spending money studying municipal broadband programs this year.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has quietly vetoed A.2037, which passed the state Assembly 120-26 during the last legislative session. The legislation was sponsored in the Assembly by Aileen Gunther, D-Monticello, and would have required the state Public Service Commission to study the feasibility of a municipal broadband program in New York state.

Assemblyman Andrew Goodell, R-Jamestown, was among the 26 votes against the study. On the floor of the Assembly, Goodell said the study is premature in the wake of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s half-billion dollar program to expand broadband access throughout the state.

“And this bill goes on to say well, there are still areas that don’t have broadband access, and so we should move forward in evaluating and developing a government-owned broadband service that would presumably compete with the private sector, with the exception that the government-operated system would focus on those areas that are inherently unprofitable which is another way of ensuring that the system would be supported by all the taxpayers,” Goodell said on the floor. “And before we go down the path of creating a government-operated system to compete with the private sector, supported by taxpayers across the state, I think it would be better for us to evaluate the nature and extent of the governor’s initiative, why it was successful or not successful, and look to tweak that program so that we don’t create more ways to spend taxpayer money in competition with the private sector.”

Earlier this year, DFT Communications officials announced on-time completion of its New NY Broadband Program projects to expand high-speed broadband internet service to more than 1,000 houses and businesses in unserved and underserved rural areas in Chautauqua County. The completed project resulted in nearly 143 miles of new and upgraded fiber-optic lines across Arkwright, Charlotte, Chautauqua, Pomfret, Sheridan and Stockton, along with parts of the city of Dunkirk. The project was supported by $4.26 million in state funding and $1.06 million in private matching funding for a total broadband investment of $5.3 million. The New NY Broadband Program was developed to help fund the expansion of high-speed internet service to unserved and underserved areas of New York state. DFT Lightspeed fiber optic internet technology will bring increased connectivity capable of delivering broadband service with 300 Megabits per-second speed and symmetrical upload/download capacity.

“DFT Communications is excited to be a part of the statewide initiative to bring advanced broadband services to rural areas by building over 10,000 miles of fiber in two years,” said Mark R. Maytum, DFT Communications president and COO, earlier this year. “It is both encouraging and energizing that New York state is taking the lead in bringing its citizens advanced broadband technology Without help from this program, it would have been cost prohibitive to undergo such an expansive project.”

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