April 6, 2021
Scroll to Part NN (in the language below, towards the middle) for information regarding service to low income New Yorkers, etc. Basically, if qualified, can purchase broadband for $15/month inclusive of taxes and fees. Persons deemed eligible language includes those who are:(a) is eligible for free or 8 reduced-priced lunch through the National School Lunch Program; or (b) 9 is eligible for, or receiving the supplemental nutrition assistance 10 program benefits; or (c) is eligible for, or receiving Medicaid bene- 11 fits; or (d) is eligible for, or enrolled in senior citizen rent 12 increase exemption; or (e) is eligible for, or enrolled in disability 13 rent increase exemption; or (f) is a recipient of an affordability bene- 14 fit from a utility. PART MM 6 Section 1. Short title. This act shall be known and may be cited as 7 the "comprehensive broadband connectivity act". 8 § 2. The public service law is amended by adding a new section 224-c 9 to read as follows: 10 § 224-c. Broadband and fiber optic services. 1. For the purposes of 11 this section: 12 (a) The term "served" means any location with at least two internet 13 service providers and at least one such provider offers high-speed 14 internet service. 15 (b) The term "underserved" means any location which has fewer than two 16 internet service providers, or has internet speeds of at least 25 mega- 17 bits per second (mbps) download but less than 100 mbps download avail- 18 able. 19 (c) The term "unserved" means any location which has no fixed wireless 20 service or wired service with speeds of less than 25 mbps download 21 available. 22 (d) The term "high-speed internet service" means internet service of 23 at least 100 mbps download and at least 10 mbps upload. 24 (e) The term "broadband service" shall mean a mass-market retail 25 service that provides the capability to transmit data to and receive 26 data from all or substantially all internet endpoints, including any 27 capabilities that are incidental to and enable the operation of the 28 communications service, but shall not include dial-up service. 29 (f) The term "location" shall mean a geographic area smaller than a 30 census tract. 31 (g) The term "internet service provider" shall mean any person, busi- 32 ness or organization qualified to do business in this state that 33 provides individuals, corporations, or other entities with the ability 34 to connect to the internet. 35 2. The commission shall study the availability, reliability, and cost 36 of high-speed internet and broadband services in New York state. The 37 commission shall, to the extent practicable: 38 (a) identify areas at a census block level that are served by a sole 39 provider and assess any state regulatory and statutory barriers related 40 to the delivery of comprehensive statewide access to high-speed inter- 41 net; 42 (b) review available technology to identify solutions that best 43 support high-speed internet service in underserved or unserved areas, 44 and make recommendations on ensuring deployment of such technology in 45 underserved and unserved areas; 46 (c) identify instances during the study period where local governments 47 have notified the commission of alleged non-compliance with franchise 48 agreements and instances of commission or department enforcement actions 49 that have had a direct impact on internet access; 50 (d) identify locations where insufficient access to high-speed inter- 51 net and/or broadband service, and/or persistent digital divide, is caus- 52 ing negative social or economic impact on the community; and 53 (e) produce and publish on its website, a detailed internet access map 54 of the state, indicating access to internet service by location. Such S. 2506--C 116 A. 3006--C 1 map shall include, but not be limited to, the following information for 2 each location: 3 (i) download and upload speeds advertised and experienced; 4 (ii) the consistency and reliability of download and upload speeds 5 including latency; 6 (iii) the types of internet service and technologies available includ- 7 ing but not limited to dial-up, broadband, wireless, fiber, coax, or 8 satellite; 9 (iv) the number of internet service providers available, the price of 10 internet service available; and 11 (v) any other factors the commission may deem relevant. 12 3. The commission shall submit a report of its findings and recommen- 13 dations from the study required in subdivision two of this section, to 14 the governor, the temporary president of the senate and the speaker of 15 the assembly no later than one year after the effective date of this 16 section, and an updated report annually thereafter. Such report shall 17 include, but not be limited to, the following, to the extent such infor- 18 mation is available: 19 (a) the overall number of residences with access to high-speed inter- 20 net identifying which areas are served, unserved and underserved; 21 (b) a regional survey of internet service prices in comparison to 22 county-level median income; 23 (c) any relevant consumer subscription statistics; 24 (d) any other metrics or analyses the commission deems necessary in 25 order to assess the availability, cost, and reliability of internet 26 service in New York state; and 27 (e) the map maintained pursuant to paragraph (e) of subdivision two of 28 this section. 29 4. The commission shall hold at least one public hearing in an upstate 30 region and one in a downstate region within one year of the effective 31 date of this section, to solicit input from the public and other stake- 32 holders including but not limited to internet service providers, tele- 33 communications concerns, labor organizations, public safety organiza- 34 tions, healthcare, education, agricultural and other businesses or 35 organizations. 36 5. To effectuate the purposes of this section, the commission may 37 request and shall receive from any department, division, board, bureau, 38 commission or other agency of the state or any state public authority 39 such assistance, information and data as will enable the commission to 40 carry out its powers and duties under this section. Additionally, 41 internet service providers shall provide any information and data 42 requested by the commission that is related to the study required under 43 this section. 44 § 3. This act shall take effect on the thirtieth day after it shall 45 have become a law. 46 PART NN 47 Section 1. The general business law is amended by adding a new 48 section 399-zzzzz to read as follows: 49 § 399-zzzzz. Broadband service for low-income consumers. 1. For the 50 purposes of this section, the term "broadband service" shall mean a 51 mass-market retail service that provides the capability to transmit data 52 to and receive data from all or substantially all internet endpoints, 53 including any capabilities that are incidental to and enable the opera- 54 tion of the communications service provided by a wireline, fixed wire- S. 2506--C 117 A. 3006--C 1 less or satellite service provider, but shall not include dial-up 2 service. 3 2. Every person, business, corporation, or their agents providing or 4 seeking to provide wireline, fixed wireless or satellite broadband 5 service in New York state shall, no later than sixty days after the 6 effective date of this section, offer high speed broadband service to 7 low-income consumers whose household: (a) is eligible for free or 8 reduced-priced lunch through the National School Lunch Program; or (b) 9 is eligible for, or receiving the supplemental nutrition assistance 10 program benefits; or (c) is eligible for, or receiving Medicaid bene- 11 fits; or (d) is eligible for, or enrolled in senior citizen rent 12 increase exemption; or (e) is eligible for, or enrolled in disability 13 rent increase exemption; or (f) is a recipient of an affordability bene- 14 fit from a utility. Such low-income broadband service shall provide a 15 minimum download speed equal to the greater of twenty-five megabits per 16 second download speed or the download speed of the provider's existing 17 low-income broadband service sold to customers in the state subject to 18 exceptions adopted by the Public Service Commission where such download 19 speed is not reasonably practicable. 20 3. Broadband service for low-income consumers, as set forth in this 21 section, shall be provided at a cost of no more than fifteen dollars per 22 month, inclusive of any recurring taxes and fees such as recurring 23 rental fees for service provider equipment required to obtain broadband 24 service and usage fees. Broadband service providers shall allow low-in- 25 come broadband service subscribers to purchase standalone or bundled 26 cable and/or phone services separately. Broadband service providers may, 27 once every five years, and after thirty days' notice to its customers 28 and the department of public service, increase the price of this service 29 by the lesser of the most recent change in the consumer price index or a 30 maximum of two percent per year of the price for such service. 31 4. A broadband service provider who offers a high speed broadband 32 service to eligible low-income customers, as such term is used in subdi- 33 vision two of this section, at a download speed of two hundred megabits 34 per second or greater at a cost of no more than twenty dollars per 35 month, inclusive of any recurring taxes and fees such as recurring 36 rental fees for service provider equipment required to obtain broadband 37 service and usage fees, shall be considered to be in compliance with the 38 requirements of subdivisions two and three of this section. Such provid- 39 ers may, once every two years, and after thirty days' notice to its 40 customers and the department of public service, increase the price of 41 such service by the lesser of the most recent change in the consumer 42 price index or a maximum of two percent per year of the price for such 43 service. 44 5. The requirements of subdivisions two and three of this section 45 shall not apply to any broadband service provider providing service to 46 no more than twenty thousand households, if the public service commis- 47 sion determines that compliance with such requirements would result in 48 unreasonable or unsustainable financial impact on the broadband service 49 provider. 50 6. Any contract or agreement for broadband service targeted to low-in- 51 come consumers provided by an entity described in subdivision two of 52 this section, pursuant to this section or otherwise, shall have the same 53 terms and conditions, other than price and speed set pursuant to this 54 section, as for the regularly priced offerings for similar service 55 provided by such entity. S. 2506--C 118 A. 3006--C 1 7. Every person, business, corporation, or their agents providing or 2 seeking to provide broadband service in New York state shall make all 3 commercially reasonable efforts to promote and advertise the availabili- 4 ty of broadband service for low-income consumers including, but not 5 limited to, the prominent display of, and enrollment procedures for, 6 such service on its website and in any written and commercial promo- 7 tional materials developed to inform consumers who may be eligible for 8 service pursuant to this section. 9 8. Every person, business, corporation, or their agents providing or 10 seeking to provide broadband service in New York state shall annually 11 submit to the department of public service, no later than November 12 fifteenth after the effective date of this act, and annually thereafter, 13 a compliance report setting forth: (a) a description of the service 14 offered pursuant to this section; (b) the number of consumers enrolled 15 in such service; (c) a description of the procedures being used to veri- 16 fy the eligibility of customers receiving such service; (d) a 17 description and samples of the advertising or marketing efforts under- 18 taken to advertise or promote such service; (e) a description of all 19 retail rate products, including pricing, offered by such person, busi- 20 ness, corporation, or their agents; (f) a description, including speed 21 and price, of all broadband products offered in the state of New York; 22 (g) a description of the number of customers in arrears for the payment 23 for broadband service, percentage of customers in arrears that qualify 24 for low-income broadband service, the number of households that have had 25 their service terminated as a result of non-payment, the number of 26 customers whose service was terminated for arrears arising from non-pay- 27 ment for services other than broadband service, and the number of house- 28 holds that have their broadband service restored after being delinquent 29 on their payments; and such other information as the department of 30 public service may require. 31 9. The department of public service shall, within two years of the 32 effective date of this section and at least every five years thereafter, 33 undertake a proceeding to determine if the minimum broadband download 34 speed in this section should be increased to the federal communications 35 commission's benchmark broadband download speed, or to another minimum 36 broadband download speed if the federal communications commission has 37 not increased its benchmark by such date. The department of public 38 service shall also: (a) undertake appropriate measures to inform the 39 public about available broadband products, including retail rate product 40 offerings and low-income offerings; and (b) periodically, but no less 41 than once every five years, review eligibility requirements for the 42 low-income service required pursuant to this section, and update such 43 requirements as may be necessary to meet the needs of consumers. 44 10. Whenever there shall be a violation of this section, an applica- 45 tion may be made by the attorney general in the name of the people of 46 the state of New York to a court or justice having jurisdiction by a 47 special proceeding to issue an injunction, and upon notice to the 48 defendant of not less than five days, to enjoin and restrain the contin- 49 uance of such violation; and if it shall appear to the satisfaction of 50 the court or justice that the defendant has, in fact, violated this 51 section, an injunction may be issued by the court or justice, enjoining 52 and restraining any further violations, without requiring proof that any 53 person has, in fact, been injured or damaged thereby. In any such 54 proceeding, the court may make allowances to the attorney general as 55 provided in paragraph six of subdivision (a) of section eighty-three 56 hundred three of the civil practice law and rules, and direct restitu- S. 2506--C 119 A. 3006--C 1 tion. Whenever the court shall determine that a violation of this 2 section has occurred, the court may impose a civil penalty of not more 3 than one thousand dollars per violation. In connection with any such 4 proposed application, the attorney general is authorized to take proof 5 and make a determination of the relevant facts and to issue subpoenas in 6 accordance with the civil practice law and rules. 7 § 2. This act shall take effect immediately.