Op-Ed: Government Must Hold the Reins on Broadband Expansion

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, it’s become starkly clear that affordable, high quality broadband service is a vital utility for all Americans as much as heat or electricity, so our members are fighting to ensure that our Federal and State governments listen to their constituents and stand with us to bring broadband those who need broadband get it, and regulate how investments are used to build out improvements where they’re needed. 

CWA Local 1104’s Nick Hoh recently published the following op-ed calling for the legislation needed to improve our broadband infrastructure and ensure that it’s built by union labor:

Competition can be healthy for markets and spur companies to innovate, but we also need strong oversight to ensure public money is spent responsibly for both workers and consumers. And while the infrastructure bill does allow the Commerce Department and National Telecommunications and Information Administration to have some oversight over how states spend their broadband money, New York lawmakers can go further.

By allowing companies to be the key decision-makers of this 21st-century necessity, profit is often at the center of decision-making. As a result, many hard-to-reach areas do not get the infrastructure they need because it isn’t profitable for companies, leaving local residents with few options. That also leads to any plan being expensive due to lack of competition.

We also need to have a unionized workforce take on these projects, not contractors who cut corners, risking safety and quality. In the past, service providers have sought to employ these out-of-state groups because they are cheaper, but it hurts long-term quality and takes jobs from New Yorkers.

Click here to read the full op-ed.

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