How New York is facing digital divide

In the state of  New York the government is facing a big challenge: governor Cuomo is trying to extend broadband to every household in the state by 2018. The lack of broadband infrastructures represents a huge problem for the United States; a 2011 study from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development ranked the US as 15th in broadband connectivity, behind countries such as South Korea and Canada. This problem is especially felt in poorer and rural areas.

 

Trump’s administration is currently focusing on infrastructural development, such as the construction of airp
orts, roads and bridges;  president Trump has showed his desire to rebui
ld the nation’s infrastructures, without mentioning the need to expand the broadband network. This issue is highly actu
al and relevant  for the European Union and for many Italian areas as well.

Governor Andrew Cuomo’s  “Broadband for all” initiative aims  to reach the areas of the region that are underserved or unserved. Thanks to this state-led program many areas and small towns, that weren’t used to have broadband at their disposal, are getting wired. This initiative is of crucial importance because it gives to the inhabitants of the state the chance to be actually connected in this hyperconnected world, in which you just can’t allow yourself to remain isolated. Faster access to the internet will give the residents new opportunities for businesses and will open new scenarios for those citizens who don’t have access to the broadband.

For too many years a series of towns and isolated spots across the country have been left behind. In today’s economy broadband is no longer a luxury, as it truly represents a necessity. Nowadays having broadband access is fundamental for economic growth and job creation; but it also represents a critical foundation for a better way of life. Who is used to having high speed internet access often underestimates its benefits. For those who are used to having broadband access (especially for the digital natives’ generation) it is hard to imagine a world without it. It seems almost impossible living without being able to Skype for a job interview or for keeping in touch with relatives living abroad, or without the possibility of sending a message on Facebook or LinkedIn, or simply watching a film on Netflix.

According to a study published last year by the Federal Communications Commission  about 12.6 million American households lack access to broadband. Approximately  2.5 million Housing Units in New York State have either limited or no access to high-speed Internet. This situation creates a huge digital divide between those communities and families with internet access, and those without such access; this means that the first ones are able to participate to the global economy, while the others are not.

The main problem is that in many areas of the state that are sparsely populated, especially the rural ones, the cost of broadband infrastructures significantly outweighs the profits. The initiative aims to help the private companies by preventing and avoiding any losses for them. This will be ensured  through what is known as a reverse auction process.

Expanding broadband infrastructures can truly change people’s  lives in rural areas. It will strengthen the communities and it will help growing local economies.

Many rural businesses in New York are already taking advantage of this opportunity. Many of them have access to faster internet for the first time in their business’ history and are improving their results.

For all these reasons the initiative of governor Andrew Cuomo in the State of New York is the key for a more egalitarian and modern society and it should be emulated by all the government and the nations that claim to represent modern and equal societies.  Giving everyone free access to high speed internet (or to internet) is at the basis of an equal and egalitarian society.

Nello stato di New York il governatore Andrew Cuomo ha lanciato l’iniziativa “Broadband for All”, che punta a estendere la banda larga in tutto il territorio, comprese le zone rurali che erano state finora lasciate indietro da questo punto di vista. L’accesso a internet è la chiave per includere tutti gli abitanti dello stato nell’economia globale, nell’ottica di una società più equa e moderna.

References:

NY gov. initiative:

https://www.ny.gov/programs/broadband-all

https://nysbroadband.ny.gov/

OECD 2011 study on Broadband connectivity:

http://www.oecd.org/sti/broadband/BB-Portal_2.1_Broadband%20Households_2012.xls

NY Times on Broadband:

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/20/nyregion/new-york-broadband-cuomo-internet.html?_r=0

Federal Communications Commissions, 2016 Broadband Progress Report:

https://www.fcc.gov/reports-research/reports/broadband-progress-reports/2016-broadband-progress-report

Government Technology on Broadband:

http://www.govtech.com/network/New-York-to-Provide-High-Speed-Broadband-to-All-Citizens-by-End-of-2018.html