Regulating broadband as a utility

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ALBANY, NY – A bipartisan bill in the New York State legislature aims to hold internet service providers accountable by making broadband a utility overseen by the Public Service Commission.

NewsChannel 34’s Corina Cappabianca has more on what it could mean for customers.

A bipartisan bill in the New York State legislature aims to hold internet service providers accountable by making broadband a utility overseen by the Public Service Commission.

Our Capitol Correspondent Corina Cappabianca has more on what it could mean for customers. 

((Nily Rozic, NYS Assemblymember)) New Yorkers deserve accountability and connectivity when it comes to broadband.

Bill sponsors Assemblywoman Nily Rozic and Senator Sean Ryan say the pandemic has highlighted the need for reliable internet, but that current regulations don’t hit the mark, because broadband isn’t considered a utility like gas, water or electric. 

((Sean Ryan, NYS Senator)) We would never accept this type of service from the electric company. Imagine if you were sitting at your dining room table and the lights didn’t work. No one says ‘oh well. looks like a lot of people are using electricity today.

Senate Sponsor Sean Ryan says treating broadband as a utility will allow the Public Service Commission to have oversight and ensure consumer protection. He says that’s critical when it comes to reliability, public safety, and data collection. 

Providers would need to submit information to the PSC about reliability, an emergency preparedness plan as well as pricing and adoption of data collection information. 

((Sean Ryan, NYS Senator)) Other items that we hope the PSC would regulate are things like outages and how much time you have to get service back up and running and then what the recourse is for the consumer if your services aren’t running. 

Both lawmakers believe there’s a good chance the bill will pass both by the end of session. 

The New York State Budget also included a mandate on internet service providers to offer $15 per month internet to low-income households, as well as money for the PSC to examine and map broadband. 

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