Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Elise Stefanik led her colleagues in sending 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.
“Governor Hochul continues to allow New York State to drive up the cost of broadband buildout, which hurts rural communities in Upstate New York and the North Country the most,” Stefanik said. “Our communities have been forced to miss out on critical internet access because of New York State’s burdensome practices. By failing to end this policy, Governor Hochul is leaving rural communities behind, but I am proud to continue pushing for results until every family in Upstate New York and the North Country can access affordable high-speed internet from their homes, schools, and businesses.”
Specifically, the lawmakers call out the New York State DOT for requiring different permitting requirements for fiber optic projects along state rights-of-way than they do for any other project, which disproportionately burdens rural fiber optic providers by unnecessarily requiring them to pay more per mile in buildout costs. This call to action comes as a follow up to the letter Stefanik led in November.
“We again write to you urging you to terminate a New York State Department of Transportation (DOT) policy that severely inhibits the deployment of fiber optic cable across rural areas of our state. We first wrote you regarding this important issue on November 30, 2021 and have received no response to date. The policy currently in place within your New York State DOT is not aligned with your often stated goal of ensuring all New Yorkers have critical access to broadband,” the lawmakers wrote.
Representatives Lee Zeldin (NY-01), John Katko (NY-24), Chris Jacobs (NY-27), and Claudia Tenney (NY-22) joined Stefanik in sending this letter.
Stefanik has a consistent record of calling New York State’s harmful policies that prevent broadband buildout in Upstate New York and the North Country.
Read the full letter here.