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After Hearing, Broadband Advocates Target Solutions In Rural Areas

VESTAL, NY (WSKG) — The push for more broadband speed internet continues in upstate New York.

Last week, 19th District Congressman Antonio Delgado hosted a hearing in Columbia County where the public and some experts had the ear of the Federal Communications Commission, the agency responsible for broadband. Delgado represents part of the Southern Tier and Hudson Valley.

Jason Miller, General Manager of Delhi Telephone Company, testified on how current mapping practices can be improved. Currently, the federal reporting process has companies recording coverage by census block.

That means if just one house is served, it’s recorded as if the whole census block has access to broadband.

"I think there’s a need for improving that mapping process to not only have companies self-report at the housing level, not necessarily the census level, but also allow other companies to challenge that process if they see any inaccuracies," Miller said, adding one goal of the hearing was to determine if the state needs more federal funding to fill the coverage gaps, like areas that may only have six homes-per-mile.

"It’s very expensive to design a network, deploy a complete fibre network, and pay ongoing poll attachments when you have that few homes per mile," Miller explained.

Then there is a cost to maintain the network, all while still making it affordable to customers, especially lower-income residents.

New York and the federal government have already spent hundreds of millions of dollars to bring broadband speed internet to all parts of the state.