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Cuomo promises broadband access across New York State

Mike Desmond/wbfo news

Governor Cuomo has outlined a bold initiative that he says will provide New York State with the fastest internet speed anywhere. During a Wednesday visit to Buffalo, he promised that the expanded broadband service will be available in all corners of the state, many of which currently have limited or no access.


The governor actually made the announcement three times as he toured the state on Wednesday. His visit to UB's Center for Tomorrow helped to drive home the point that many areas lack appropriate access.

"This is a really big deal. 57 percent of the people in Erie County don't have access to high-speed internet right now and that really puts them at a disadvantage," Cuomo said.

New York State, he promises, will be the first state to have service to every home. That also means the service will be available to all sizes of business. The governor points out many companies are refusing to locate in areas without high-speed service.

"You're leaving people behind in this information age."

The ambitious target comes with a hefty price tag.

"The state is spending $500 million to subsidize the coverage. So, we get it to every household, all across the state, we get it done by 2018. This will equalize information, equalize economic development potential," said Cuomo.

A key element in the program emerged from Charter Communications' planned takeover Time-Warner Cable. According to State Public Service Commission Chair Audrey Zibelman, the price for the acquisition was the company had to pay for state approval by helping to facilitate the push to expand high-speed service to everyone.

"Today in New York, there are 2.4 million homes that do not have access to high-speed internet," Zibelman said.

"You don't have high-speed internet, you want to download a movie it could be three or four-hours. If you have high-speed internet you're talking about 11-minutes. In terms of commerce, the ability to connect commerce, to use credit cards, five-times faster. All of these things matter."


Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.