Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Elise Stefanik today wrote a letter to Governor Kathy Hochul urging her to end a New York State Department of Transportation (DOT) policy that severely inhibits the deployment of fiber optic cable in rural areas of New York.
The state is requiring a particular survey, which often imposes costs upward of $5,000 per mile of fiber cable on the broadband provider, disproportionately hurting rural communities the most.
“Albany Democrats continue to drive up the cost of broadband buildout hurting rural communities, like the North Country, that need this access the most. By failing to end this policy, Governor Hochul is complicit in their actions,” Stefanik said. “Residents of the North Country have been forced to miss out on critical internet access because of New York State’s burdensome practices. While the state continues in their incompetence, I am proud to continue pushing for results until every resident of the North Country can access affordable high-speed internet from their homes, schools, and businesses.”
In the letter, Stefanik pointed out that DOT’s current policy of only requiring a survey by private land surveyors for fiber optic projects along state rights-of-way unfairly discriminates against deployment of fiber optic cable in rural communities. This policy imposes undue administrative and financial burden only on fiber optic projects and the broadband providers who work providing all New Yorkers with high-speed internet.
Stefanik concluded her letter by writing, “I urge you to take immediate action to end this policy that disproportionately impacts rural fiber providers and rural residents and allow our broadband providers to innovate, grow, and continue the drive towards connecting every New Yorker to high-speed internet at prices they can afford.”
In October, Stefanik led a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) requesting an investigation into New York State’s practice preventing broadband buildout in the state by imposing fiber fees in violation of federal law.
Read the full letter here.