New York State’s first effort to expand broadband access, which was launched in 2015 fell short.
That’s the latest from an audit by the state’s top financial watchdog.
The state broadband program was supposed to connect households and people – providing broadband access to those in underserved areas.
The development was supposed to service more than 177,000 homes and businesses. However, speeds were abysmal where connected.
“Households that were connected in Central New York ended up with an outdated technology,” Comptroller Tom DiNapoli’s audit said. “We found that by March of 2021, they still had not completed their project. And while they pointed to COVID slowing things down, in fact, the project was supposed to be done before COVID even happened.”
Current Governor Kathy Hochul has her own broadband expansion initiative underway. It’s called ConnectAll. This time, instead of $500 million being spent on the effort, $1 billion has been budgeted.
In the audit, DiNapoli called access to high speed broadband a right, not luxury. One that will either hold back, or allow rural communities across the state.
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