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Local, state officials call for repeal of New York’s ‘fiber tax’

Local and state officials are calling for the the repeal of New York’s “fiber-optic tax” to improve broadband access in rural areas.

“The vision of the Yates County Legislature is that all residents, businesses and community anchor institutions will have access to reliable, affordable, high-speed internet throughout our County,” said Yates County Administrator Nonie Flynn, according to The Chronicle Express. “The NYS DOT PERM 75 regulation severely hinders our progress in reaching this goal.”

New York State Senator Tom O’Mara, a Republican whose district includes five counties in Western New York, has also called on Governor Kathy Hochul to repeal the fee for accessing the state’s rights-of-way for fiber optic cables. O’Mara is a member of the Senate Energy and Telecommunications Committee.

“Access to high-speed Internet has become a fundamental need for our families, businesses, farms, local economies, first responders, schools, and the overall success and strength of rural, local communities. We have worked to ensure that rural, upstate New York not be left behind in this mission to bring effective broadband to all New Yorkers, but new initiatives and investments are needed,” said O’Mara, according to a press release. “The single most important action that the state can immediately take is to repeal the ‘fiber tax.’ Governor Hochul should give this repeal the urgency it demands to ensure that broadband development across rural, upstate New York receives an equal and fair commitment.”