NYC Announces Accelerated Internet Master Plan to Support Communities Hardest-Hit by COVID-19 - Copy 1

NEW YORK— The City of New York will make a historic $157 million investment in ending digital redlining and providing high-speed internet, including $87 million redirected from the NYPD budget. This investment will announced that the City will accelerate broadband deployment in all five boroughs, prioritizing public housing communities, which have suffered disproportionately during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The investment will extend new internet service options to 600,000 underserved New Yorkers, including 200,000 NYCHA residents over the next 18 months. This approach will create a path to NYCHA-wide implementation and universal broadband across New York City.

The announcement was made by Mayor de Blasio, Taskforce on Racial Inclusion & Equity co-chairs First Lady Chirlane McCray, Deputy Mayor J. Phillip Thompson and Deputy Mayor Dr. Raul Perea-Henze. “Our mission to deliver affordable, high-quality internet service has never felt more urgent,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “COVID-19 has further exposed the inequalities in internet access while changing the way New Yorkers work, learn, and live. Accelerating universal broadband access will make our city healthier, safer, and more equal.” 

“Broadband service has quickly become as necessary to modern life as electricity and running water. Having it or not having it can be a matter of life and death, particularly for communities of color, which may be cut off from critical health alerts and other information during the COVID-19 crisis," said First Lady Chirlane McCray. "Universal broadband means that Black and Brown New Yorkers will have access to health care, educational resources, employment opportunities, and social programs, which will help them stay connected and strengthen these communities for generations to come."

Creating a Pipeline to Jobs

As part of the plan, the City will work with M/WBE service providers and community-based organizations who will create a pipeline to jobs by training, certifying, and employing adults and youth to install and operate network infrastructure.

According to the NYC Internet Master Plan, 46% of New York City households living in poverty do not have broadband at home. A full 18% of all New York City residents – more than 1.5 million people – have neither home nor mobile connection. Internet use is foundational to economic mobility, but current broadband subscription costs can impose a considerable burden on the budgets of low-income families. 

The first phase of plan implementation is underway. The Mayor’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer, in partnership with NYCHA and NYC Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), collected proposals through a Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI). The RFEI identified ready-to-deploy ideas or pilot projects that will provide residents at NYCHA units with reduced-cost internet service options. These options may range from new products and pricing, new service choices with discounted rates for public housing residents, free Wi-Fi solutions that residents can reach from their homes, or other innovative approaches employing established or emerging technologies.

The City expects to announce partnerships at the end of the summer 2020, with full deployment of the program occurring throughout 2020 and 2021.

 

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