Mayor Bill de Blasio revealed a $157 million capital investment to achieve affordable and universal broadband in New York City.
The city is releasing a Request for Proposals that invites the telecommunications industry to create new affordable broadband service options through a first-ever coordinated system of access of up to 100,000 city assets, prioritizing areas identified by the Task Force on Racial Inclusion and Equity. The Mayor also announced the city will accelerate the buildout of 5G by making an unprecedented 7,500 city street poles available for mobile carriers to build their networks, mainly in underserved areas. Combined, these initiatives will reach millions of New Yorkers across all five boroughs, expanding access to quality, high-speed, and reliable internet at home or on the go.
“All New Yorkers deserve affordable Internet access, no matter their zip code,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “With this historic effort to invest in broadband and 5G infrastructure, we are making tremendous strides toward closing the digital divide once and for all.”
“New Yorkers deserve fast, reliable internet service, regardless of the size of their paycheck or where they live,” said First Lady Chirlane McCray.” The Covid-19 pandemic has underscored the need to close the digital divide. Whether people are working from home, researching school assignments or in need of a visit to their doctor, there is a greater reliance on online communication. This historic investment will open the door for industry leaders to deliver innovative technology solutions that will help build the communities hit hardest by the virus back stronger, and ensure a fair recovery for all.”
“The digital divide affects how New Yorkers live, work, go to school, and connect with their communities,” said Deputy Mayor for Operations Laura Anglin. “We applaud the multi-agency effort to change the playing field to ensure that all New Yorkers, regardless of where they live, have access to quality, high-speed, affordable internet service.”
“Internet connectivity is a means to address inequity, combat digital redlining, and create new economic opportunities for hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers who have been historically sidelined from the benefits of digital life,” said J. Phillip Thompson, Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives and co-chair of the Taskforce on Racial Inclusion and Equity. “These initiatives will bring 21st-century life to underserved and low-income neighborhoods and it will provide Internet connection in a way that protects user privacy, ensures affordable rates, and delivers reliable access.”
“High-speed internet facilitates online learning, career advancement, and increased employment opportunities. It is a requirement to fully participate in today’s economy,” said Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Vicki Been. “Building out access to the Internet democratizes a critical economic development tool, especially by providing our public housing residents the same opportunities as other New York City residents and is an important milestone in our fair recovery agenda.”
“New Yorkers need internet connectivity to continue to live, work, and learn,” said John Paul Farmer, Chief Technology Officer of the City of New York. “With this RFP, we are opening the door for industry to step up and propose a range of technologies that will modernize broadband infrastructure and bring 4G and 5G connectivity to those New Yorkers who need it most. There is no one solution — we welcome any and all ideas and the opportunity to work with all those who share our goal of closing the digital divide in New York City.”
“Over the past year, we worked closely with our partners in the telecom industry and we are now poised to make New York City a leader in 5G technology,” said Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications Commissioner and Citywide Chief Information Officer Jessica Tisch. “The 5G networks we are building out across all five boroughs will serve as an engine of economic growth and recovery for years to come.”
“COVID-19 has rapidly shifted the way we work, learn, socialize and access critical services. For communities hardest-hit, the digital divide only compounds longstanding racial and socioeconomic disparities,” said Sideya Sherman, Executive Director, Taskforce on Racial Inclusion and Equity and EVP, Community Engagement & Partnerships, NYCHA. “This multi-agency effort will benefit all New Yorkers through greater competition while accelerating access for the communities that need it the most.”