Rural cell phone and internet coverage discussions take place in Albany

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ALBANY N.Y – It’s an issue that New York State lawmakers say affects everything from public safety to the economy.

Today, a legislative hearing was held to talk about improving rural broadband access.

NewsChannel 34’s Corina Cappabianca was there.

Upstate Assemblymembers and Senators say the need for reliable broadband is a top issue of concern for constituents.

((Robert Smullen, Assemblymember))
This is like the Post Office was in the 1800s… It’s become a modern technological necessity.

From kids trying to complete their homework online, to farmers in need of broadband to grow their businesses, it’s an issue Rural Resources Chair Senator Rachel May says is “about basic functions of our society.”

((Rachel May, Senator))
to function in the modern world, to get a good education, to run a business even for property values, it matters a lot that people have connectivity.

While there are several reasons for the lack of reliable broadband in rural areas, she says:

((Rachel May, Senator))
It’s just genuinely hard to do if there’s just one house a mile down the road from anybody else than that’s not cost effective for a private company to put in the service to it.

And, other questions were explored:

((Rachel May, Senator))
Is this a utility? Should it be regulated like phone service, or television service?

Senator May says ultimately, the goal is to review the testimony and come up with next steps to improve reliable access.
In Albany, Corina Cappabianca.

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