BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was in Buffalo Friday to announce the signing of legislation that establishes a program to provide affordable internet to low-income families.
Internet providers operating in NYS will be required to offer $15/month high-speed internet to low-income families across the state.
Those who qualify for the program include households that are eligible or receiving:
- Free or reduced-price lunch
- Supplemental nutrition assistance program benefits
- Medicaid benefits
- Senior citizen or disability rent increase exemptions
- Affordability benefit from a utility
"High-speed internet is essential to our everyday lives, and as we continue to reopen our state and adjust to new norms that have been shaped by the pandemic, we need to make sure every household has access to affordable internet," Governor Cuomo said. "Remote learning, remote working, and telemedicine are not going away. This program - the first of its kind in the nation - will ensure that no New Yorker will have to forego having reliable home internet service and no child's education will have to suffer due to their economic situation."
The governor's office says the state has also partnered with Schmidt Futures and the Ford Foundation to launch ConnectED NY, "an emergency fund to provide approximately 50,000 students in economically disadvantaged school districts with free internet access through June 2022."
The Affordable Broadband Portal has also been launched to help New Yorkers find affordable broadband programs in their area.
NYS will conduct a statewide in-depth study on the availability, reliability and cost of broadband and issue a report on its findings within a year.
"Furthermore, New York State will conduct an in-depth statewide mapping study of broadband to identify the availability, reliability and cost of high-speed broadband services and report on its findings within one year. This study will map the quality -- not just the availability -- of coverage. This is part of the State's effort to make broadband accessible and affordable for all," a release says.