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Rep. Delgado Wants More Practicality In Broadband Access


BINGHAMTON, NY (WSKG) -- Many New Yorkers struggle with broadband access, especially in rural areas.

New York has a program that aims to expand access across the state. But NY-19 Congressman Antonio Delgado said some practical changes to implementing broadband could help speed things along. His district sprawls across a lot of rural area, including in Delaware, Otsego and part of Broome County.

Under New York's plan, most of the state would have access to download speeds of 100 megabits per second. The most remote would have 25 Mbps, which is the federal standard. Before the program, many rural residents had with download speeds in the single digits.

The state measures who needs access by census data. That means making sure there’s access in a census block, but Delgado says that doesn’t ensure that everyone gets access.

“So, in order to get more accurate accounting of the implementation of broadband access we need street level, household level, mapping,” he said.

Delgado wouldn’t comment specifically on how well the state’s program has worked, overall.

"Here's what I know. There are a number of folks out there who do not have rural broadband access. Too many folks," he said. "How we implement it, how aggressively we're implementing it is unclear from my vantage point."

Instead, he said the federal government should get involved and treat internet as a public utility to ensure rural areas all over the country can get broadband access.

Delgado made the comments as part of a conference call with reporters from around the district. During the call, he commented on the Trump Administration's push to invalidate the Affordable Care Act.

“Not only are they seeking to undermine the ACA, but they’re not even offering anything in the alternative," he said. "They are literally allowing people to fall off the cliff and it is downright immoral.”

In December, a federal judge in Texas ruled that recent changes to the federal tax law make the entire ACA unconstitutional. Delgado said it would leave many people in his district without coverage.

That covers the Southern Tier and Hudson Valley including Otsego, Delaware and part of Broome County.