Governor Cuomo Announces Proposal to Enact a First-In-The-Nation Guarantee of Affordable Internet for Low-Income Families as Part of the 2021 State of the State
Gov Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) announced his proposal to enact a first-in-the-nation requirement for affordable internet for all low-income families as part of the 2021 State of the State agenda.
- Establish First-in-the-Nation Guarantee of Affordable Internet Mandate: Gov Cuomo will propose legislation requiring internet service providers to offer an affordable $15 per month high speed internet plan to low-income households. The State will also require providers to advertise this option to ensure programs reach underserved populations across the State.
- Close the "Homework Gap" by Establishing a Hardship Fund: To bridge the gap during the COVID-19 emergency and help the most in need children across New York State, the Gov's blue-ribbon Reimagine New York Commission, Schmidt Futures, and the Ford Foundation will launch a new hardship fund to pay for internet subscriptions for students who cannot afford $15 a month during the COVID-19 crisis. To ensure students also get the laptops and hot spots they need, the State will expedite Smart Schools Bond Act funding to school districts to meet outstanding device needs.
- Consumer Protections for Broadband Customers and Other Critical Reforms: To combat practices that limit consumer choice and increase the cost of internet services, the Public Service Commission will require adherence to a universal "broadband disclosure" that explains all charges, such as device, termination, activation, and equipment fees in plain and easy to understand language so consumers will no longer get hit with unexpected charges.
In addition, the State will undertake other actions to spur further investment in access including promoting a "dig once" policy to facilitate the buildout of fiber across the state, launching a website to help New Yorkers find the affordable plan in their area and report on coverage gaps and consumer experiences, as well as other efforts to close the literacy and digital skills gap that persists in underserved communities.
Governor Cuomo Announces Proposal to Enact a First-In-The-Nation Guarantee of Affordable Internet for Low-Income Families as Par