County exec hails elimination of fiber optic installation fee


In crafting the states 2022-23 budget, the state legislature agreed to repeal a fiber optic installation fee that Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. and Herkimer County Board of Legislators Chairman Jim Bono said it was stifling broadband access in their communities.

“I am pleased to see that state lawmakers heeded our call and came to their senses on this irrational and restrictive fee,” Picente said in a Thursday statement, adding, “With this unnecessary obstacle removed, Oneida and Herkimer can now move forward with the essential expansion of our broadband networks into underserved-areas. This will ensure that our communities are able to connect to online services and are afforded better opportunities to thrive and succeed.”

“The elimination of the permit fee of $20,000 per mile on New York State highways will have significant and positive impact on the build out of broadband in rural counties,” Bono added.

“I applaud our state representatives and the governor for listening to their constituents and counterparts on the county level,” Bono added.

“The rescinding of the fee will make it much more attractive for private investment and allow for more expansion opportunities for both of our counties,” said the Herkimer County leader.

Established by Chapter 59 of the state laws of 2019, the state Department of Transportation was imposing a $20,000 per mile fee on fiber optics installed in state right of ways. 

Picente and Bono are supporting supported legislation that would eliminate that fee. 

In a letter, the county leaders wrote the fee was, “imposing an unnecessary tax burden and dramatically increasing the cost of expanding access to broadband” and that “it makes no sense to invest state and local resources to leverage new wireline broadband expansion projects” with such an exorbitant fee in place.

Oneida and Herkimer counties have recently completed a broadband assessment and mapping study, identified projects and public and private partners, and are prepared to move forward to address the needs of their underserved communities, according to the announcement by the county officials.


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