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New New York Broadband Program to offer 100Mbps minimum

All New York residents and businesses will get a minimum download speed of 100Mbps under a new $1 billion plan by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Written by Josh Taylor, Contributor on

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced plans to upgrade broadband across the state to provide minimum download speeds of 100Mbps by 2019.

(Image: New York)

The $1 billion New New York Broadband Program would put the state four times ahead of the proposed Federal Communications Commission minimum broadband download speed description of 25Mbps.

The governor announced on Friday that the state would invest $500 million to encourage the private sector to upgrade broadband and roll out broadband to underserved and unserved areas.

The aim will be for the private sector to match the government investment, leading to a total $1 billion in funding for broadband upgrades.

The requirement will be for broadband providers to offer at least 100Mbps download speeds, or, in some limited cases, 25Mbps download speeds for the remote and underserved areas.

"Access to high-speed internet is critical to ensuring that all New Yorkers can reach their full potential in today's technology-driven world," Cuomo said in a statement.

"We're launching the largest state broadband investment in the nation in order to make that goal a reality. This is a truly bold undertaking that will improve the lives of New Yorkers in every corner of the state, and I am proud to make it a priority of our administration's second-term agenda."

The state estimates that 1 million New Yorkers cannot get broadband at 6Mbps download speeds, while 5.4 million residents cannot get broadband at 25Mbps. A total of 7 million residents cannot get broadband at 100Mbps.

According to a 2011 study conducted by the state (PDF), approximately 67 percent of New Yorkers are connected to a broadband service. Around 59 percent of all households with a broadband connection in New York connect via a cable connection, 8.1 percent connect on fibre, and 22.2 percent via DSL.

The government will be looking to make it easier for the telecommunications companies to roll out broadband, including implementing a "dig once" policy that will allow pits and ducts to be made ready for multiple services at once. The state will also be looking at using its existing 500 miles of fibre.

The announcement follows a speech by US President Barack Obama on Wednesday in which he called for an end to laws in 19 states across the US that have protected the incumbent providers and prevented new competitors from entering the broadband market in those states.

Obama's call was criticised by some Republicans as a federal takeover of state broadband regulation, with one telling Obama to "stay out of our internet networks".

The co-investment plan proposed by New York is similar to that in New Zealand, where the national broadband network is being rolled out by a number of private telecommunications companies with financial support from the New Zealand government.

In Australia, the government-owned company NBN Co is rolling out a mixture of fibre to the home, fibre to the node, fibre to the basement, cable, fixed wireless, and satellite services to deliver at least 25Mbps by 2020.

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