New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced an initiative for increased internet broadband coverage across the city in low-income neighborhoods after defunding an estimated $1 billion the New York Police Department.
This announcement follows weeks of riots and protests filled with determined groups eager to defund the NYPD and to redistribute wealth to other community avenues. Once Mayor de Blasio ordered budget cuts to the NYPD capital budget, a total of $87 million was redistributed for increased broadband access. The mayor projected the internet coverage program will take effect within 18 months and will reach 600,000 New York City residents who are currently unable to access the internet. Wi-Fi will cost users $15 per month. Currently, about 1.5 million residents lack internet access at home.
“Broadband is the way that so many people access everything, education, job opportunities, job training, anything you need, that’s where you’re going to find it. And yet, for so many New Yorkers there just isn’t access – that digital divide is very, very intense,” Mayor de Blasio said Tuesday.
De Blasio also plans to increase profits by making the city’s internet providers pay for their use of city streets.Mayor de Blasio is open to New York state creating a law to combat providers’ free access to the cityscape. The revenue from this will again provide internet access to residents without it. Verizon, which is headquartered in Manhattan, provides most of the coverage throughout the state. Verizon has done its share of helping citizens through Covid-19 and plans to upgrade to 5G later this year to enable better coverage during the pandemic and beyond. For more breaking New York City Technology business news and culture updates, follow us on Instagram and Twitter @NYCWired