New York State

Delgado highlights broadband access at upstate hearing

“We are experiencing a divide.”

Fiberoptic cable waiting to be laid.

Fiberoptic cable waiting to be laid. Shutterstock

Rep. Antonio Delgado brought the debate over the digital divide to Hudson, New York on Friday, where he held a congressional field hearing with the Federal Communications Commission’s Geoffrey Starks on rural broadband access.

“We are experiencing a divide,” Delgado told an audience at Columbia-Greene Community College, adding that as “investment is more and more drawn on population density, rural communities aren’t getting what they ought to be getting, and are not enabled to stay on the ever-growing information highway.” Delgado represents the 19th congressional district of New York, located in the Hudson Valley and Catskills regions, which he says is the country’s eighth-most rural district.

Delgado has previously taken up the issue of rural broadband access in Congress, including earlier this year, when he helped pass an amendment in the House to improve broadband mapping practices.

The FCC, which maps broadband access across the country, has come under fire for faulty mapping practices that overstate access. Starks acknowledged on Friday that mapping problems have been an obstacle to accessing high-speed broadband. In response to some of these criticisms, the FCC announced in August a new process for collecting broadband data relying on geospatial coverage maps to better pinpoint areas lacking in coverage that need increased investment.

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