$15/month High-speed Internet Access Law for Low-Income Households in New York

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Internet speed illustration with city background

Internet access should become a lot more affordable in New York as Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill for the implementation of broadband affordability. Originally, the price of broadband in New York is $50 and with the bill applied, it is now at a price of only $15.

New York internet service providers were required to provide high-speed internet access at affordable costs for low-income households. This was stated by Governor Andrew Cuomo on a Friday morning at an event in Buffalo.

This law was referred to as the Affordable Broadband Bill and was signed at the Northland Workforce Training Center. This initiative was concluded from the Reimagine New York State Commission wherein Cuomo stated that providing high-quality and affordable internet sources would greatly, significantly affect the positive growth of the state even after the pandemic.

The said law requires the Internet Service Providers to provide high-speed internet connections to households who cannot afford such prices, specifically low-income households for a rate of $15 per month. Aside from this, modems and routers will be provided by the ISPs as well as any other equipment needed to establish quality internet accessibility.

ISPs who were included in this program were Charter or Spectrum, Verizon, Altice, Frontier, Greenlight Networks,Hughesnet, and Windstream. Households who are qualified in SNAP benefits, the National School Lunch Program, Medicaid, and Utility Affordability Programs are automatically eligible for these affordable internet services. However, it was not stated when the application for this program will be conducted.

1 out of 5 students in New York metro households have no access to high-quality internet. What does this imply to Remote Learning? Students, as well as workers, need high-speed internet amidst COVID-19. This led to the conclusion of Cuomo of broadband use where 98% of New Yorkers can access this type of technology, and that financial problems and internet quality are the main barriers. 

As said by Assembly Majority Leader Crystal People-Stokes, “Students are at home trying to learn remotely, there are telehealth issues – people need to have access to good quality Internet”. She also added that not all students holding their smartphones have access to the internet, some have to bring their children to a library for them to do their homework. “Some folks even sit near parking lots of McDonald’s or Taco Bell to gain internet access. So the action is taken this year… is critical.”, she added. On the other hand, there is a separate partnership creating a program called, “ConnectED NY” between the Schmidt Futures and the Ford Foundation as an emergency program.

The goal of the fund is to provide free access to the internet to about 50,000 students in disadvantaged school districts. This provides cost-free internet access for students through June of 2022 who are disadvantaged in terms of access to the internet.

This is New York’s newly implemented price for a high-speed internet connection otherwise known as broadband. Relating availability and cost of service throughout New York will reveal gaps and help statal leaders to ensure that all New York residents can afford to have access to high-speed internet to connect to their jobs, school, health care, as well as their loved ones.  This is a remarkable move towards making broadband internet the most affordable utility since it will greatly benefit the community. Not only a law was implemented, but as well as a website called, “Affordable Broadband Portal” which helps people find affordable internet providers in their area. Overall, paying $15/month for 25 Mbps is a whole lot better than $50 for those same speeds. Pandemic has affected so many aspects of life yet technology, every day, will always find a way to ease our work.