Congresswoman Tenney Holds Broadband Roundtable, Unveils Plan to Bridge Digital Divide

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From the office of Congresswoman Claudia Tenney:

Washington, DC – Congresswoman Claudia Tenney (NY-22) today hosted a roundtable in the Village of Sherburne with local elected officials and business leaders. She joined Sherburne Mayor Bill Acee and others from Chenango County, including educators and small business owners, to discuss ideas to improve internet access in the region. During the meeting, Tenney unveiled her plan to expand and invest in broadband access for Upstate New York.

“Having access to fast, reliable, and affordable internet is critically important to the success of our region. It impacts just about every aspect of our lives, and for too long New Yorkers have not had the access they need at costs they can afford. This needs to change. Our conversation today raised several new and innovative ideas to provide solutions to tackle this issue. We need to enable competition to lower costs and increase resources to expand access. If our region is going to compete in a 21st century economy, we need 21st century tools and technology available to every family and small business.”

Tenney’s three-part plan to bridge the digital divide in upstate New York focuses on unleashing the private sector, boosting competition, and increasing resources for underserved communities. For the full plan, please click here or continue reading below.
Unleashing the Private Sector

  • Original Cosponsor of H.R. 3377, the Gigabit Opportunity (GO) Act: This legislation will create broadband opportunity zones in areas lacking sufficient internet access, encouraging smaller internet providers to improve and expand their internet offerings. Ultimately, this bill will bring more internet service providers to upstate New York to compete against Spectrum’s monopoly, resulting in lower costs and faster service. 
  • Cosponsored H.R. 1032, the Telecommunications Skilled Workforce Act: This bipartisan legislation will help close the workforce shortage in the telecommunications industry and ensure we have the skilled workforce needed to build and maintain 5G networks in underserved communities. Emerging technologies like 5G would offer service that is better, faster, cheaper, and reaches farther than traditional technologies; we need to make sure we have the workforce in place to take full advantage of it. 

Boosting Competition

  • Bringing Greater Competition to New York: I have urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to immediately re-evaluate the non-competitive telecommunications market in upstate New York. Since the New York State’s Public Service Commission and the FCC granted Spectrum a virtual monopoly, it has saddled our communities with expensive and unreliable broadband. The FCC must act immediately to bring competitors into upstate New York, giving our communities a robust broadband marketplace of choices that expands access and brings prices down. 

 Increasing Resources for Underserved Communities

  • Cosponsored H.R. 3435, the American Broadband Act: This legislation will authorize $20 billion over five years to expand broadband infrastructure in underserved communities and $3 billion to promote rural wireless infrastructure, while eliminating the waste in the Biden Administration’s current infrastructure proposal. The money will be prioritized for projects offering 100Mbps download speeds so our rural communities will not be stuck with second class internet access. In addition, the bill will cut red tape for cable providers entering new markets or upgrading their network, encouraging a robust broadband marketplace that keeps prices lower and speeds higher. 

 

  • Cosponsored H.R. 2400, the Community Broadband Mapping Act: This bipartisan legislation will allow local communities to dispute and correct inaccuracies in Federal Communications Commission (FCC) internet service status claims. These federal broadband maps are often chronically inaccurate, meaning that many of our local communities are ineligible for funds they would otherwise receive. This fix is necessary to close gaps in broadband service and ensure every community receives resources. 

 

  • Support Funding for USDA ReConnect Program: I recently testified before the House Appropriations Committee to urge it to continue funding rural broadband expansions through the USDA ReConnect Program and to reform the program to make sure it works for all rural communities. It is fundamental that we boost internet infrastructure that can host multiple internet service providers, so rural communities can access greater broadband options at lower prices. We must also consider raising the federal definition of minimum internet service beyond its already scheduled increase to 25 megabits per second. This standard is simply not high enough to meet the demands of many communities, especially for our schools, healthcare facilities, and libraries.

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