Internet should become a lot more affordable in New York after Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill that requires all ISPs operating in New York State to offer a $ 15 per month broadband option to low-income consumers.
According to NY Assembly member Amy Paulin (through Bloomberg), the average price of broadband in New York is currently $ 50. This new bill limits the price to $ 15 for regular broadband and $ 20 for high-speed broadband, but only for those who qualify as low-income. That’s still more than 7 million people in 2.7 million households according to a press release from Cuomo’s office
This is a remarkable step towards making broadband internet the affordable utility most people treat with it. Cuomo’s office told me The edge that for $ 15 per month, ISPs should offer the higher of two speeds: either 25 Mbps down, or the speed of the ISP’s existing low-income broadband service. The first is the same speed defined by the FCC as broadband, and it is not considered particularly fast. The FCC’s 25 Mbps definition of broadband has been enforced since 2015 and has been criticized as outdated. Earlier in 2021, a bipartisan group of senators called on the FCC to redefine broadband as 100 Mbps down and 100 Mbps up, as that would better reflect how people actually use their internet.
Still, paying $ 15 a month for 25 Mbps down is a lot better than paying $ 50 a month for the same speeds. Better yet, for people who live in urban areas like New York City, where the internet is usually much faster, same account limits the price of broadband to 200 Mbps for just $ 20 a month.
In addition to masking the price on the Internet for low-income households, Cuomo also launched a new website, the Affordable broadband portal, to help people find affordable internet in their area. He also announced a partnership with the Ford Foundation and Google founder Eric Schmidt’s Schmidt Futures create the ConnectEd NY fundThe aim of the fund is to provide free internet access to approximately 50,000 students in economically disadvantaged school districts. It is expected to operate until June 2022.
Cuomo passed a number of popular laws in the past month, including the legalization of recreational marijuana use. A cynical person might interpret this latest and extraordinarily good move as another attempt to distract from the growing number of scandals surrounding CuomoBut a good thing is a good thing, regardless of motivation, and this turns out to be a very good thing.