O’Mara applauds repeal of ‘fibre tax’ to spur broadband expansion: action will help bridge rural digital divide
We have worked to ensure that rural areas in Upstate New York are not left behind in this mission to provide efficient broadband to all New Yorkers.
Albany, new YorkApril 8—State Senator Tom O’Mara (R, C, I-Big Flats) today applauded the repeal of the state’s costly “fiber optic tax” in the 2022-23 budget.
In recent weeks, O’Mara and fellow Senate GOP members have called for the repeal, noting how it has hampered efforts to expand broadband access and close the digital divide in rural communities.
O’Mara, a member of the Senate Energy and Telecommunications Committee, said:High-speed Internet access has become a fundamental need for our families, businesses, farms, local economies, first responders, schools, and for the success and strength of rural local communities. We have worked to ensure that rural areas of Upstate New York are not left behind in this mission to deliver efficient broadband to all New Yorkers, but new initiatives and new investments are needed. This repeal of the “fiber tax” is the most important step the state can take immediately to try to ensure that broadband development in rural areas of upstate New York receives equal commitment. and fair.
The Senate approved the budget bill providing for the repeal earlier today.
O’Mara joined several Senate Republican colleagues at a Capitol press conference in February to stress the need to repeal fees, established in 2019, to access state rights-of-way for fiber cables. optical. Lawmakers said this “fiber tax” only applies to broadband providers and is a serious impediment to the development and expansion of broadband in rural communities upstate.
[Watch Senator O’Mara’s comments on the “fiber tax” repeal HERE.]
O’Mara and his colleagues said the $8 million in state revenue generated from the fiber tax locks billions into broadband rollout projects across the state.