News from Taghkanic Broadband Committee:
Congressman Antonio Delgado (D-19th), a member of the Rural Broadband Task Force, convened a Congressional Field Hearing with Federal Communications Commissioner Geoffrey Starks at Columbia Greene Community College on October 4th, 2019 to focus on the need to expand rural broadband access and affordability in upstate New York. Also present were Assemblymember Didi Barrett (D-106th), a selection of community representatives were featured for testimony, and students from the Catskill school district were live-streaming the hearing.
The Taghkanic Broadband Committee was also present.
Representative Delgado remarked that this district was one of the 8th most rural districts in the country and rural communities aren’t getting what they ought to be getting. He stated that 26% of rural residents lack access to high speed Internet compared to 1.7% of people living in urban areas. Mr. Delgado said, “We need to close the digital divide.”
Dave Berman, co-chairman of Connect Columbia, gave testimony regarding the outdated use of census blocks to define coverage and the need for state and local governments to require Internet access to every address. “Every address that gets electricity should get broadband,” he said.
Other speakers included Dr. Belden, Chief Medical Officer at Columbia Memorial Health, Tim Johnson, CEO of Otsego Electric Cooperative, Shannon Hayes of Sap Bush Hollow Farm Store and Café in West Fulton, Jason Miller, general manager of Delhi Telephone Company and Superintendent Brian Dunn from Middleburgh Central School District.
Commissioner Starks announced that there would be $20 billion grant money available next year for rural digital broadband. He emphasized that states need to encourage not limit municipal broadband.
You can view the entire 2-hour hearing at this link:
Following this Congressional Field Hearing on Rural Broadband, Representative Delgado introduced legislation for the Broadband Speed Act and the Community Broadband Mapping act to address flawed mapping practices and to support communities working to challenge the “served” status.