The Cuomo administration has been kicking around plans to increase broadband internet access in New York state for a few months now, and is now ready to unveil what is a very bold plan that could make New York the most connected state in the nation. Last Friday, the Governor issued a press release outlining the state's broadband initiative committing to bring broadband internet with 100Mbps download speeds to every New Yorker by 2019 (with the exception of some rural areas, with a 25Mbps target.) Gov. Cuomo will be featuring that in his State of the State speech today as well.
The plan calls for the state to commit $500 million in matching funds to private internet providers to meet the target, for a total of $1 billion in investment. It's a bold plan with an ambitious target to be sure. Forgive me if I'm a little cynical that it will bring broadband to every rural household in the state, because players like Verizon will likely pull out the big guns so they get the lion's share of the money for subsidies for a fiber FIOS rollout they were likely to do anyway. But maybe I'll be wrong, and most of the money will go to to subsidize broadband buildout in areas that the fiber and cable companies otherwise have deemed economically unviable. With $500 million up for grabs, you can bet there will be lobbyists all over it to shape the rules. We'll just have to wait and see where the money goes — for cable extensions to low desnity rural areas like northwest Sullivan County, or for FIOS extensions on Long Island.