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Columbia County officials are discussing Gillibrand's rural broadband bill

Aug 18, 2017 3:28 pm
Richard Moody reports for Columbia-Greene Media that two local supervisors, from Gallatin and Hillsdale, believe the rural broadband bill Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is championing would not help Columbia County if passed. “The Committee welcomes all efforts by our elected representatives to add grant options for the broadband providers in our area,” Gallatin Town Supervisor John Reilly, chairman of the County Broadband Subcommittee, said. “Senator Gillibrand’s proposed legislation is still in the initial stages. On initial review, the legislation has substantially higher equity requirements by the local providers and the application guidelines may exclude a good part of Columbia County.” But F. Michael Tucker, president and CEO of the Columbia Economic Development Corporation, said Gillibrand's bill would add to what New York State is already doing. “The states can’t do this alone. At this point it becomes very expensive,” Tucker said. “After the phase-three awards are distributed we can identify small remaining pockets of underserved areas.” Currently, Fairpoint Communications is getting $36.7 million in phase two of the New NY Broadband Program to expand access in Columbia County. John Lange, a spokesperson for U.S. Rep. John Faso (R-Kinderhook) said that Faso will consider the bill, but has not taken a position on it yet. Reilly said Columbia County is discussing the bill with Gillibrand. “We will set up a teleconference with the senator’s office and the broadband committee in early fall when we better understand the results of phase three of the state’s program,” Reilly said. “Another tool to address the problem is always a good thing, especially if we can help make it a more workable tool in this county.” Read the full story at HudsonValley360.com.
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