Says DOT policy inhibits fiber optic buildout in rural areas of N.Y.

February 10, 2023

By News Report

WASHINGTON, D.C. | U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik has led her colleagues in sending a letter to Gov. Kathy Hochul urging her for the third time to end a New York State Department of Transportation (DOT) policy that severely inhibits the deployment of fiber optic cable in rural areas of New York.

Specifically, the lawmakers call out the New York State DOT for having different permitting requirements for fiber optic projects along state rights-of-way than they do for any other project, which disproportionately burdens rural fiber optic providers by unnecessarily requiring them to pay more per mile in buildout costs.

“Albany Democrats continue to drive up the cost of broadband buildout hurting rural communities in Upstate New York and the North Country that need this access the most. By failing to end this policy and ignoring my calls to action, Governor Hochul is complicit in their actions,” Stefanik said Feb. 10.

“Families across Upstate New York have been forced to miss out on critical internet access because of New York State’s burdensome practices. While the state continues in their incompetence, I am proud to continue pushing for results until every family, school, and small business in New York’s 21st District can access affordable high-speed internet.”

In the letter, Stefanik points out that while New York State DOT has recently made some narrow progress by creating a pilot program to streamline the survey requirement for some projects, the Albany bureaucracy is moving too slow. Instead, she argues they should end this policy immediately.

Stefanik has called Hochul to take action on this important issue both in November 2021 and in July 2022. She has not received any official response to date.

Representatives Claudia Tenney (NY-24), Nicholas LaLota (NY-01), Anthony D’Esposito (NY-04), Mike Lawler (NY-17), Marc Molinaro (NY-19), Brandon Williams (NY-22), and Nick Langworthy (NY-23) joined Stefanik in sending this letter.

See the full article from The Sun here.