New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in his 2019 State of the State speech, discussed the lack of cellular network coverage upstate. He noted that it undermines economic growth, affects communications and safety, plus inhibits adoption of smart municipal infrastructure, reported the Adirondack Daily Enterprise. In a recent press release, Gov. Cuomo said, “Every New Yorker should be able to access a stable cell connection, yet our upstate regions have struggled for too long to make the connections that are vital to everyday life and commerce.”
Now, 16 board members have been appointed to the Upstate Cellular Coverage Task Force. Its charge is developing potential solutions and policies to address the lack of cellphone service in rural and remote parts of upstate New York, including the Adirondacks and Catskills. The board consists of industry experts, government officials, and environmental representatives, along with an advisor, Alvarez & Marsal.
Two board members from the Adirondack area, Sen. Betty Little, and state Assemblyman Billy Jones, are major tower proponents. “No region of the state, including the North Country, can afford to be stuck in the 20th century,” Little said in a press release. “I applaud the governor for creating this task force.” Little has also been quoted as saying, “I never met a cell tower I didn’t like.”
Jones added, “The North Country has been at a distinct disadvantage with large gaps in cellular coverage for far too long, posing a risk to safety and putting our communities at an economic disadvantage.” He plans to continue pushing to expand access to high-speed internet to the North Country.
In 2015, Gov. Cuomo launched the $500 million New NY Broadband Program to achieve statewide high-speed Internet access. He claims that after full implementation of the program, more than 99 percent of New Yorkers will have access to wired broadband, per the Daily Enterprise.
September 12, 2019