Economy ∙ Education
“As an entrepreneur, I know how vital broadband connectivity is to survive in our modern society. I am committed to ensuring that every New Yorker who wants broadband in their home can access an affordable connection.”
Broadband is indispensable for education, jobs, emergency updates and telehealth. However, the key challenge facing NYC is broadband adoption, including challenges of affordability and literacy. Although virtually all residences have physical access to broadband infrastructure, 29% of New York households do not have broadband in their home. We will spend up to $100 million per year to ensure that everyone who wants broadband has access to an affordable option in their home. We will also maximize connectivity at City-owned buildings, especially homeless shelters. Looking ahead, we’ll incentivize private companies to build out 5G in an equitable way across the City.
Work with the Governor’s Office to expand broadband affordability and adoption.
Gov. Cuomo recently announced the creation of a mandate that all internet providers need to include a low-cost broadband plan. The Yang administration will work with the Governor’s Office to make that a reality in the City.
We will support the state’s efforts by focusing and tailoring outreach to elderly New Yorkers who live alone (who make up almost a quarter of those lacking home broadband), families with children, and unemployed New Yorkers. The Yang administration will also continue to fund and grow programs that provide hardware to those that lack it, and invest in digital literacy programs for those who need it to make use of broadband access for education and health purposes.
For the ~1% of New Yorkers who do not have physical access to broadband infrastructure, we will work with providers and new technology companies to achieve access as efficiently as possible.
Connect homeless shelters, City buildings, and NYCHA housing developments.
A lack of reliable WiFi in our city’s shelters has been devastating during the COVID-19 crisis, as children have fallen behind in school and parents have faced yet another barrier to finding a job. Mayor de Blasio recently promised WiFi access in every shelter, and we will ensure this vision becomes a reality in all 650 shelters across the city. We will have the highest priority on locations with high populations of children and families.
We will also maximize connectivity at City buildings, providing public WiFi access in and around these buildings. We’ll build on the great example of the BKLYN Reach project, where an antenna atop the public library extends access for 300 feet outside the library buildings.
Finally, we will ensure that NYCHA housing developments all have broadband access, that those living there can afford the hardware necessary, and that these developments serve as centers for digital literacy programs.
Ensure an equitable rollout of 5G.
We need to have an equitable buildout of 5G across the city. The FCC has issued regulations that require municipalities to charge utilities only at cost for deployment of infrastructure. We will work with the FCC and private sector to develop a plan that charges utilities citywide for installation of 5G infrastructure averaged at cost, but with higher prices for affluent areas and lower prices for lower-income areas so that utilities deploy uniformly across the city.
New Yorkers can do great things when given an opportunity. We need to make sure all New Yorkers are online as we emerge out of the current crisis and build toward a better future.