Broadband Speeds Matter Just as Much as Internet Access, Say New Yorkers

National Broadband Plan, Premium Content, States December 13th, 2009

, Special Correspondent,

NEW YORK, December 13, 2009 – Broadband speeds matter just as much as does internet access, in order to ensure educational, economic and social opportunities for individuals of all incomes and ethnic backgrounds, participants in a community broadband hearing here agreed on Friday.

Policy officials, not-for-profit organizations, small businesses, community-based organizations and others came together Friday for to discuss how New York fits into the national broadband plan currently being developed by the Federal Communications Commission in Washington.

The event was organized by Columbia University’s Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science and taped for FCC review and consideration.

The FCC’s year-long survey of the nation’s internet infrastructure was mandated by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which included broadband initiatives intended to accelerate broadband deployment across the United States.

The stimulus package “will be the driving force in this country for many years to come” as it relates to science and technology, Edward Reinfurt, executive director of the New York State Foundation for Science, Technology and Innovation.

In New York, Gov. David Paterson has appointed the New York State Broadband Development and Deployment Council, which is holding its first meeting December 14 as his designated entity coordinating broadband stimulus activities.

The council is helping New Yorker seek federal stimulus funding. Council members and other New York officials see broadband as a means to achieve greater educational capabilities, internet access and economic development. New York’s broadband adoption rate averages around 54 percent – below the national average. An April 2009 survey by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project said some 63 percent of adult Americans have broadband Internet connections at home,

“That’s probably where I see the synergies the most: how important broadband access and speed is to economic development in the state,” Reinfurt said.

In the portions of this story included below as Premium Content, provides further analysis of Reinfurt’s remarks, reports on the comments by New York City Councilwoman Gail Brewer, plus comments from non-profit and industry officials testifying at the hearing.

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