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Collins meets with local lawmakers to discuss rural broadband expansion


Thu, Mar 15th 2018 02:50 pm
On the heels of a rural broadband roundtable Friday afternoon with local community leaders, Congressman Chris Collins, R-NY-27, called for easing regulations on internet service providers, helping them to invest in underserved communities like northern Niagara, Orleans, Genesee and Wyoming counties.
"It is staggering that 65 percent of my congressional district is underserved by high-speed internet, which is why it is so important government and providers work together to make sure our communities have the services they need," Collins said.
He expressed concern about recent efforts by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Sen. Chuck Schumer to "implement overbearing regulations that would make it harder to provide internet service in these areas."
"Gov. Cuomo and Sen. Schumer could hurt rural internet expansion by falsely claiming that the internet is broken and the only way to fix it is more regulations. Their actions would be detrimental by creating more red-tape that providers would have to navigate," Collins said.
He pointed to the Obama administration's implementation of "heavy-handed rules" that deterred internet providers from investing in Western New York's rural communities. As a member of the energy and commerce committee subcommittee on communications and technology, Collins has "worked to correct discrepancies in current law to make sure companies who build the groundwork to provide everyday Americans with internet service are able to continue expansion," his camp said.
"The promise of reliable and affordable high-speed internet in the rural parts of our counties has been an elusive dream for over seven years, and our residents and businesses continue to be frustrated with the progress to date," Niagara County Legislator David Godfrey said. "Current internet services in the rural areas fall well short of the expectations of our taxpayers, and the promise for newer technology seems well over the horizon. Thank you Congressman Collins for always being here for us."
"Our meeting with Congressman Collins brings continued hope that our counties will receive the technology they deserve and desperately need," Orleans County Legislator Lynne Johnson said. "The congressman has always given his fullest support to the Niagara-Orleans Regional Alliance as we push for those services that will help ensure every resident, student, school, small and agribusiness across our two counties, and the entire GLOW region receive internet that is equal to that of more metropolitan areas in New York state."
Collins said, "We need to work together to ensure our communities have the resources they need to run their businesses, pursue educational opportunities, and connect with their loved ones. I am thankful for the support of local leaders that know what is best for Western New York as we continue to fight for an environment where businesses can succeed so consumers can benefit."

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