Gavel

Associations representing large and small broadband providers are presenting a united front in opposition to New York’s requirement that providers offer a low-income internet service for $15 a month.

In a prepared statement, six telecom provider associations said they support efforts to connect all Americans to broadband and that they are “committed to providing affordable options and a variety of plans to meet every family’s needs.”

They added, however, that they are “disappointed” by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals decision to uphold New York’s mandatory $15-a-month offering. The associations said the mandate is rate regulation and implied that it isn’t needed because the industry is competitive.

“It not only discourages the needed investment in our nation’s infrastructure, but also potentially risks the sustainability of broadband operations in many areas,” the associations wrote.

The associations issuing the statement include:

  • ACA Connects
  • CTIA
  • New York State Telecommunications Association
  • NTCA—The Rural Broadband Association
  • Satellite Broadcasting & Communications Association
  • USTelecom

In the statement, the associations urged Congress to “maintain support for low-income Americans on a nationwide basis” – an apparent reference to the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), which has paid $30 a month toward the cost of internet service for low-income households but which is set to run out of funding next month.

New York Mandatory $15 Internet

The New York mandatory $15 internet service had its genesis in a law passed by the state legislature in 2021. Shortly afterwards, U.S. Eastern District Court of New York issued an injunction that prevented the requirement from being implemented, pending a decision about its legality.

According to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals decision released Friday, the requirement is lawful.

The decision opens the door for other states to impose a similar requirement—a requirement that some states may be quite open to implementing to minimize the impact of the ACP sunset.

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