Legislator Burke Calls for the Establishment of the Erie County Broadband Network to Combat the FCC's Vote to Repeal Net Neutrality

Legislator Burke says, “State and local government needs to protect consumers from this disastrous net neutrality decision.” Burke founded the Erie County Broadband Committee which has been exploring the feasibility of a public/private high speed internet service in Erie County.

Buffalo, NY- Legislator Patrick Burke is continuing his push for fair and open internet. First, Republicans in Washington gave cable and internet providers the ability to sell consumers private internet data. Now, they have repealed net neutrality which is the needed protection for a fair and open internet. It is now possible for cable companies to decide which websites you can visit.  

“The internet is a place where people apply for jobs and colleges, search for homes, and pay their taxes and it is under attack by the intense lobbying efforts of Internet Service Providers (ISPs). Nationally, there are only four ISPs that provide internet to the vast majority of Americans. In my district, there is only one option for my constituents. If the service they receive is terrible or the prices go up each month, there is nothing they can do. The issue is a severe lack of competition” Burke said.

“I proposed a plan for the establishment of the Erie County Broadband Network- as a way to combat the severe lack of competition in our region with regards to internet service. The county or a separate not for profit, would connect the vast amounts of underutilized dark fiber in our region to create a high speed internet network. Rather than operate a single municipal network, we would lease access to internet service providers who have expertise in the field. This allows us to mitigate risk and develop competition in the marketplace. ”

“If an ISP that entered into an agreement with Erie County was selling consumer data, we could turn around and say “you can’t do that and use our infrastructure.” It allows for the public to hold some power over its own resources. There is no reason why the telecommunications companies, some of which have the absolute lowest consumer satisfaction rates in New York should be able to run wild and not be held accountable. I believe we can hold them accountable and I am working to do exactly that” Burke said.