New state law requires providers to offer affordable internet plans

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a law Friday requiring internet companies to provide affordable options for low-income families.

Posted: Apr 16, 2021 2:17 PM
Updated: Apr 16, 2021 2:55 PM

ALBANY, N.Y. – Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a law Friday requiring internet companies to provide affordable options for low-income families.

A basic high-speed internet plan costs more than $50 per month on average. This legislation requires providers to offer a $15 per month high-speed internet plan to households that are eligible or receiving free or reduced-price lunch, supplemental nutrition assistance program benefits, Medicaid benefits, the senior citizen or disability rent increase exemptions, or an affordability benefit from a utility.

Cuomo says this will provide crucial access for New Yorkers working from home and students learning remotely.

"High-speed internet is essential to our everyday lives, and as we continue to reopen our state and adjust to new norms that have been shaped by the pandemic, we need to make sure every household has access to affordable internet," said Cuomo. "Remote learning, remote working, and telemedicine are not going away. This program - the first of its kind in the nation - will ensure that no New Yorker will have to forego having reliable home internet service and no child's education will have to suffer due to their economic situation."

The state will study broadband availability and cost statewide, and report the results within a year. This will help map the quality of coverage across the state.

New York State is also partnering with Schmidt Futures and the Ford Foundation to launch ConnectED NY, an emergency fund that will provide free internet access to 50,000 students in school districts located in low-income areas through June of 2022.

As part of this effort, an online portal is also available to show people affordable internet options in their area.

This new law applies to all internet service providers in New York, including Charter (Spectrum), Altice (Optimum), Verizon, Frontier, Windstream and Greenlight Networks.

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