Are you struggling to pay for your home internet and TV? There is an effort the offer free internet and TV to those in the greatest need starting with the state of New York.
Recently there has been a push by Assemblyman Brian Cunningham, D-Brooklyn, to create a law that will give free internet and TV for anyone living in public housing. The law would require internet and TV providers, including cable companies, to offer free internet and TV. Instead of billing the residents, the state would create a fund to help pay for this, according to bill A.7837.
“Federal and municipal governments have established affordable connectivity programs to ensure that low-income customers and residents of public housing have internet access,” Cunningham wrote in his legislative justification. “It is New York state’s turn to take this step towards closing the digital divide. Empire Connect will offer basic high-speed internet and cable for free to public housing residents. Paid upgrades will be available. Broadband is necessary for work, school, social services, and more, and should be viewed as a need rather than a luxury.”
There have been other similar efforts, including a proposal by State Senator Alessandra Biaggi, D-New York City, to give free internet to homeless shelters overseen by the state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, according to a report from The Post-Journal. New York has also recently passed a law to make homeless shelters eligible for ConnectAll program funding to help them get internet.
Other parts of the countries have been reportedly looking into similar programs to help the lowest-income families. Michigan for example, now offers $9.95 for internet, but it falls below what is considered highspeed internet. California has also proposed a bill with SB 743 that would have offered free high-speed to anyone living in public housing.
For now, these bills are all still pending in New York. We will watch closely and post full updates as we learn more.