The Business Council of New York State, the state’s leading statewide business and industry association, strongly opposes this legislation that would require the public service commission (PSC), within six months of passage of legislation, to identify the areas of the state “in which insufficient telecommunications services has caused social or economic impacts” and once identified, mandate the “construction or installation of broadband and fiber optic services by an internet service provider” in these communities.
The Business Council strongly encourages the expansion of fiber optics, telecommunication infrastructure and other technologies in efforts to support a growing economic and solid business and educational infrastructure. And, we applaud efforts such as the Administration’s “Broadband for All” program as providing positive incentives for expansion and economic development. In that vein, focusing on strategic plans, and industry participation – as well as consumer input – would foster a greater and more coordinated effort to close any existing gaps in service than would this legislation. Rather, this legislation merely states that the private sector must – after only six (6) months of study – commence the construction of various broadband and fiber optic systems for the purpose of establishing or improving internet access in areas deemed underserved or lacking.
There are so many unanswered questions that would result from such legislation: By what criteria would communities be deemed eligible? How would the projects be apportioned? How will the projects be paid for? What internet service providers would be given certain areas to construct these projects? And so forth.
By unilaterally mandating the “construction or installation of broadband and fiber optic services by an internet service provider in communities in which broadband and fiber optic services are determined to be absent, insufficient, or inadequate” the State of New York, this legislation would be discouraging a competitive marketplace. By forcing multi-million dollar decisions rather than working collaboratively with the private sector, this bill runs the very real risk of making the system worse not better.
For these reasons The Business Council urges its defeat.