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Bill to expand rural broadband moves forward

State Sen. George Borrello heralded the passage of Senate Bill 7028, which he co-sponsors, as a critical step forward in expanding access to broadband service in rural areas.

The measure will ease cost and operational obstacles faced by broadband service providers seeking to build out infrastructure in rural and underserved areas of the state.

“The prevalence of ‘internet deserts’ remains one of the biggest problems in our rural areas and it was an issue that was exacerbated by the pandemic, which made remote work and schooling essential,” said Borrello. “One of my top priorities in the Senate has been advocacy and educating my Albany colleagues on the challenging economics of rural broadband development and advancing solutions to improve it. We’ve made a big step in that direction with passage of this bill.”

One key provision of the bill would allow broadband providers seeking to install internet service via utility poles in a given area to obtain one contract for all the poles in that city, town or village, rather than being forced to get a contract for each individual pole, as is currently the case. Streamlining this process for providers will encourage more broadband development while also ensuring equitable service and access to the homes within a given municipality.

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