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New York caps Internet prices for low-income customers

Internet providers will have to offer a package with decent speeds at no more than $15 a month.

Internet providers will have to offer a package with decent speeds at no more than $15 a month.

(Photo: Pexels/Creative Commons)

Internet companies who provide service to customers in New York state will soon have to offer a broadband package to qualified low-income households at a cost of no more than $15 a month.

The requirement is part of a new law signed this week by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo that requires all broadband Internet service providers (ISPs) to provide at least one low-cost option with decent speeds.

Under the law, ISPs operating in New York state are required to offer a basic Internet package with download speeds of at least 25 megabits per second (Mb/s) at a cost of no more than $15 a month. That speed is the bare minimum to qualify under the federal government’s current definition of “broadband” service.

The package would be offered to around 7 million households who qualify for certain government-backed subsidies, including free or reduce lunch for school children, supplemental nutrition benefits known as SNAP or other federal and state programs.

“High-speed internet is essential to our everyday lives, and as we continue to reopen our state and adjust to new norms that have been shaped by the pandemic, we need to make sure every household has access to affordable internet,” Cuomo said in a statement.

The law does not require ISPs to offer the cheaper package to those who would not normally qualify for low-income programs. The average cost of Internet service in New York is about $50 a month, the governor’s office said.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).