News from the New York State
Legislative Commission on Rural Resources

Senator George H. Winner, Jr., Chairman
Assemblyman David Koon, Vice Chairman

Contact: Ronald C. Brach at (518) 455-2544
For Release: Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Legislation Promotes Broadband Services for Economic Development in Rural Areas
State Agencies Directed to Focus on Underserved Rural Areas

The New York State Legislature has approved legislation sponsored by Senator George H. Winner, Jr. (R-C, Elmira), Chairman of the 10-member bipartisan NYS Legislative Commission on Rural Resources (LCRR) and Vice-Chairman, Assemblyman David Koon, (D-I, Perinton) which will lead to expanded broadband services in rural regions.

The legislation (S. 2747-B/A. 5633-C) was developed and advanced as a bipartisan initiative by the LCRR. If signed by the Governor, it will take effect immediately.

The legislation directs New York's lead economic development agency, the Empire State Development Corporation, to submit recommendations by January 1, 2007 to advance the best methods for deployment and expansion of broadband access in support of economic development in underserved rural areas. Empire State Development, together with other state agencies and private industry representatives, will evaluate and recommend specific state and local strategies for the deployment of broadband infrastructure in rural regions.

"One of the real bright spots of this legislative session is that we've heightened important bipartisan recognition of key short- and long-term challenges facing rural communities," said Winner. "This action represents the beginning of a concrete economic development strategy to help bring the excitement and prosperity of a high tech future to rural New York. Rural communities must find a niche in the continued emergence of New York State's high technology industry. We have to focus on building the necessary infrastructure and work force to cement rural New York's place in that future."

Assemblyman Koon noted, " The fact the United States has fallen to the rank of 16th from 4th in the world for broadband penetration in just the last four years shows that we need to redouble our efforts to expand Internet access. We in New York, especially in our rural areas, need to improve the infrastructure and affordability of broadband so we can be competitive in attracting and retaining businesses, and developing 21st century health care and education. This initiative should be one of the first of many steps to improve New York's broadband infrastructure and encourage development in underserved rural areas of the state."

The legislation was cosponsored by Commission members: Senator Mary Lou Rath (R-C-I, Amherst); Senator William T. Stachowski (D-C, Buffalo); Senator David J. Valesky (D - Syracuse); Assemblyman Darrel J. Aubertine (D- Watertown); Assemblywoman Barbara S. Lifton (D-Ithaca); Assemblyman James Bacalles (R-C, Corning) and Assemblyman Daniel J. Burling (R-C, Warsaw).

Interested parties may call the Rural Resources Commission at 518-455-2544 for copies of the legislation or E-mail your request to


The Legislative Commission on Rural Resources is a joint-bipartisan agency in the state legislature composed of five senators and five assembly members. The chairman is Senator George H. Winner, Jr. (R-C, Elmira), the vice chairman is Assemblyman David Koon (D-Perinton). Other Commission members are Senator Mary Lou Rath (R-C Amherst), Senator James W. Wright (R-I Watertown), Senator Neil D. Breslin (D-Albany), Senator William T. Stachowski (D-Buffalo), Assemblyman Darrel J. Aubertine (D-Watertown), Assemblywoman Barbara S. Lifton (D-Ithaca), Assemblyman James Bacalles (R-C, Corning), and Assemblyman Daniel J. Burling (R, I, C-Castile).

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