BUFFALO — Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation Friday requiring broadband providers to offer $15-per-month high-speed internet access to low-income households.
“It can be hundreds, if not thousands of dollars per year, to get access to the internet and many New Yorkers just can’t afford it, especially today, especially in a post-COVID economy,” Cuomo said Friday at a briefing in Buffalo.
The bill requires all internet providers to offer high-speed broadband at $15 a month, including all equipment and fees, to low-income households and individuals who qualify for government assistance, Cuomo said.
For families that cannot afford the $15 per month fee, Connected New York will finance 50,000 students and their families to cover the fee while remote learning remains a necessity, Cuomo said. The cost will be covered by an emergency fund financed by Schmidt Futures and the Ford Foundation.
Eric Schmidt, of Schmidt Futures, said providing high-speed access to all is critical.
“The internet is no longer optional,” Schmidt said. “It’s a moral duty, it’s the right thing to do.”
Check back for more on this developing story.