On November 13, 2020, Next Century Cities (NCC) drafted a letter of recommendations for the Reimagine New York Commission. The Commission was created by Governor Cuomo to expand opportunities for New Yorkers by reducing the digital divide, improving healthcare access, and creating new job opportunities. Currently, the Commission is collecting ideas to achieve those goals. 

NCC’s recommendations focused on closing the digital divide, which supports healthcare access and job creation. NCC recommended framing broadband as the essential service it has become, particularly in light of COVID-19. Additional recommendations include increasing competition in multi-dwelling units, making detailed and verified broadband service data available, and ensuring that state broadband subsidies focus not only on K-12 students, but are also accessible for everyone who needs reliable, high-speed broadband for telehealth, distance learning college courses, and working from home.  

COVID-19 has pushed broadband access into the forefront of state policy. Across the country, state broadband offices, utility commissions, and legislatures are seeking solutions to reduce the many inequities that affect people who do not have reliable, affordable broadband access. Local officials can inform New York’s efforts by taking the Reimagine New York Commission’s survey and sharing ideas about how to bring broadband within reach for all residents.