Comptroller: More than 1 million New York homes without broadband internet
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC)— More than one million households in New York still do not have access to broadband internet, a report from the New York State Comptroller’s Office shows.
The 1 million makes up about 13.8% of homes in the state. That’s around the national average of 13.6%,
The report, led by Comptroller Tom DiNapoli found many of the households earn less than $20,000 annually, and one in three low-income households lacks access. The report found the most common reason people did not have broadband was because of cost, which could force families to "trade-off" on where they spend their money.
The Finger Lakes Region makes up about 8% of those without access, Western New York sits at 12%. The highest is Long Island, at 25%. A detailed interactive map can be found here.
As News10NBC has previously reported, New York State reported that roughly 98 percent of people had a connection, but that number’s been disputed by studies, lawmakers, and school leaders. According to Monroe County leaders, Census data shows that nearly one-fifth of city households and one-third of rural households do not have an internet subscription, while it says many more opt to depend solely on their smartphone plan.
In his report, DiNapoli did mention developments in federal policy, including flexible funding as part of the American Rescue Plan, among other programs.
There are other options, too.
- Monroe County launched an Advisory Task Force on Broadband in March.
- Earlier this year, New York State launched a portal that allows you to find affordable internet service in your area.
- The federal government launched the Emergency Broadband Benefit, which provides a discount of up to $50 per month for eligible households.
See our Good Question segment on broadband here.
The state also passed a law to require all internet service providers to offer low-cost high-speed internet to lower-income families and homes. Providers will have to offer a $15 per month plan, though they have been fighting the state in court.
We previously reported on issues within the state’s program.
Looking ahead, DiNapoli said there is also the potential for additional infrastructure dollars earmarked for broadband, which he says would allow the state to craft a more "ambitious" strategy.