In-Depth: Telecom trade groups sue NY over low-income broadband law

In-Depth: Telecom trade groups sue NY over low-income broadband law Photo: File photo, News10NBC.

Created: April 30, 2021 08:34 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Trade groups representing telecommunications companies are fighting New York State over the low-income broadband law.

The law will 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.

But in a lawsuit filed Friday, trade groups say the state doesn't have the authority to set rates, and it could hurt companies' ability to upgrade networks.

The governor responded to the lawsuit in a statement Friday afternoon:

"COVID hasn't only threatened the health and well-being of New Yorkers, but it exposed the many injustices preventing millions of people from building a prosperous life. Now more than ever, it's critical we break down these barriers and ensure every New Yorker is able to take part in our post-COVID recovery. 

"The fact is, this is the 21st century and whether you point to remote education, telecommuting, telehealth or otherwise, broadband holds great power. Simply put - it's become an essential service and that's why it was so important to ensure affordable internet was available for low-income New Yorkers. 

"I knew giant telecom companies would be upset by our efforts to level the playing field, and right on cue, they're pushing back. This is nothing more than a transparent attempt by billion-dollar corporations putting profit ahead of creating a more fair and just society. 

"Let me be abundantly clear - providing internet in the Empire State is not a god given right. If these companies want to pick this fight, impede the ability of millions of New Yorkers to access this essential service and prevent them from participating in our economic recovery, I say bring it on."

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