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Congresswomen urge repeal of ‘rural broadband tax;’ say measure stifles access for country residents

Posted 4/7/22

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Rep. Claudia L. Tenney, R-22, New Hartford, joined recently with House Republican Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik, R-21, Schuylerville, to urge Gov. Kathy Hochul to take …

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Congresswomen urge repeal of ‘rural broadband tax;’ say measure stifles access for country residents

Posted

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Rep. Claudia L. Tenney, R-22, New Hartford, joined recently with House Republican Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik, R-21, Schuylerville, to urge Gov. Kathy Hochul to take action to expand access to rural broadband by repealing the New York State fiber fee, which, they say, amounts to a tax on rural broadband.

The fiber fee charges private fiber providers for installing, operating or maintaining fiber optic cable lines needed for quality broadband connections, running along or passing through state rights-of-way.

In the 2019-2020 New York state budget, a provision was included to impose the fiber fee, except when a project is funded by the New York Broadband Program.

The provision, the lawmakers say, has made it more costly for providers to build infrastructure in underserved rural areas, including those throughout the 22nd District, said Tenney.

Further, the fee applies only to fiber projects, but not to any other type of communications projects utilizing technologies like coaxial cables, which is a possible violation of federal
law.

The lawmakers sent a letter to Hochul, urging the repeal. In part the lawmakers wrote, “We urge you to repeal this policy that disproportionately impacts rural fiber providers and rural residents in this year’s state budget.”

“You should be empowering our state’s broadband providers to innovate, grow, and continue the drive towards connecting every New Yorker to high-speed internet at prices they can afford, not continuing to place bureaucratic financial burdens on them,” the Republican lawmakers letter to the New York state governor added.

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