Broadband Adaptation...Advocating for public policy improvements

Published on: Friday March 5th, 2021

The Regional Board continues to advocate for policy changes.  Recent concerns shared...

1. FCC map update & verification: Accurate data collection has been a longstanding challenge of evaluating broadband in our region. The current Federal Communications Commission (FCC) maps overstate the availability of high-speed internet access by basing coverage maps on census block level data. To ensure the inaccuracies of the FCC maps are conveyed in public discourse, letters and resolution templates were sent to government officials/organizations including planning directors, NYSAC, ESD, and elected officials. In December of 2020, Congress approved $7 billion for broadband affordability and accessibility programs. This includes $98 million to implement the Broadband Deployment Accuracy and Technological Availability (DATA) Act, which requires the FCC to change broadband collection, verification, and reporting processes. It also mandates the FCC conduct regular audits of data submitted by providers and create a challenge process to enable the submission of independent data. These reforms should improve the overall accuracy of the FCC maps and ensure underserved communities, such as the Southern Tier, are eligible for federal investment opportunities.

2. Perm-75 request to reform: NY Department of Transportation regulates NYS rights-of-way by imposing a build tax on new fiber installations and an annual rental fee per foot, applicable to both new and existing fiberoptic lines. It is estimated that NY DOT’s Perm 75 will increase new fiber construction by $25,000 per mile and overall network costs. Letters were sent to state officials articulating the need to reform this policy.