By Jennifer Weber

As President Obama stated back in 2015: “High-speed broadband is not a luxury but a necessity.”

In order to address this issue in New York State, Governor Andrew Cuomo launched the NY Broadband Program in January 2016, which is a $500 million initiative to ensure every New Yorker will have access to high-speed internet by 2018.

“Access to high-speed internet is critical to keeping pace with the rising demands of the modern economy,” Cuomo said. “The New NY Broadband Program is advancing our vision for inclusive, interconnected communities that empower individuals, support small businesses, and advance innovation. These actions are a major step forward in creating the most robust broadband infrastructure network in the nation, and ensuring that reliable, high-speed internet is available to all New Yorkers.”

The NYS Broadband Program Office of Empire State Development held a public information session on the status of phase one and the rollout of phase two of the Broadband For All Program in WNY on Tuesday, Sept. 21 at the University of Buffalo regarding the roll out of Phase Two of the initiative.

Jeffrey Nordhaus, EVP of Broadband and Innovation, led the discussion, stating that the Broadband For All initiative guarantees access to internet download speeds of at least 100 Mbps in most places in New York State and 25 Mbps in the most remote parts of the state, by the end of 2018.

“As a result of these speed upgrades, users will be able to download HD movies in 11 minutes — versus 2.3 hours without broadband — and credit card transactions will be processed five times faster,” stated Nordhaus.

Erie County was selected as a priority year one build and should see completion of this goal for more than 2 million upstate homes and businesses by early 2017, including Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Binghamton and Albany.

The third phase of the Broadband For All Program is scheduled to launch in early 2017, which will close out any remaining unaddressed service areas by the end of 2018.

In addition to high-speed internet access, the Broadband For All Program requires a pricing tier for the service providers to offer to residential customers at these speeds at a monthly rate not to exceed $60 per month.

If you are unsure of what speed your internet service is currently at, you can do a simple test in under 30 seconds by typing in “speed test” into Google.

To learn more about the Broadband For All initiative, visit