First-in-nation plan provides roadmap to universal broadband; steps the City will take to close the digital divide
Mayor Bill de Blasio and Chief Technology Officer John Paul Farmer today announced the New York City Internet Master Plan, a bold vision for affordable, high-speed, reliable broadband service across all five boroughs that offers seamless connectivity at home and on the go. The plan envisions a future for internet service in New York City, anchored in five principles––equity, performance, affordability, privacy and choice. With the release of the Master Plan, the de Blasio Administration charts a path for internet providers in the private sector to work in partnership with the City to address gaps in the market, close the digital divide and deliver universal broadband to all New Yorkers.
As part of the plan, the City will work with service providers that meet the City’s principles and expand its role across all broadband components by coordinating among permitting entities, optimizing City real estate like rooftops and lightpoles, and building fiber optic lines to connect City assets. The City will initiate the plan by issuing a Universal Solicitation for Broadband (USB) to steer the relationship between the City and the private sector toward universal service with a focus on covering areas of the City that currently lack connectivity. Read the plan here.
“Every New Yorker deserves easy, affordable access to the internet,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “With the Internet Master Plan, we are giving notice to corporations that the days of creating a digital divide in our city are over. Providing equitable broadband service to all New Yorkers regardless of where they live or how much they make is vital to ensuring everyone has the basic tools they need to succeed.”
“All New Yorkers should have access to affordable, reliable, high-speed internet, regardless of their zip code or the size of their paycheck,” said Deputy Mayor Laura Anglin. “We will work closely with our partners in the private sector as we endeavor to end the digital divide in New York City and ensure internet access for all.”
“The Internet Master Plan is a brand new approach to breaking down the barriers to internet adoption in a city as large and as densely populated as New York City,” said Chief Technology Officer John Paul Farmer. “No New Yorker should be without affordable access to this critical 21stcentury
technology. Now is the time for the private sector to get serious about working with the City to bring connectivity to all New Yorkers. No other city in the nation has introduced such a clear, strategic, and partner-focused roadmap to universal broadband.”
Current broadband subscription costs can be a burden on the budgets of low-income families. For example, 46% of New York City households living in poverty do not have broadband in the home. The Bronx has the highest percentage of residents without home broadband at almost 38%.
The digital divide in New York is considered a barrier to economic opportunity for residents and small businesses and a threat to long-term economic growth in the City. While many New Yorkers use a mobile connection and a home connection, New Yorkers increasingly need both connections to make full use of the internet. 40 percent of households do not have this level of connectivity today. 18 percent of residents – more than 1.5 million New Yorkers – have neither a mobile connection nor a home broadband connection. This significant portion of the City faces barriers to education, employment, banking, healthcare, social networks and government services that other residents do not.
Universal broadband that meets the City’s principles will transform the City with widespread economic benefits. Based on the City’s analysis of the economic impact of universal broadband, getting all New Yorkers connected and establishing equitable infrastructure citywide may result in up to 165,000 new jobs, a $49 billion increase in personal income, and $142 billion in incremental Gross City Product in 2045. While all New Yorkers will benefit from universal broadband, these impacts will be most dramatic for the people who are currently excluded from full participation in the digital economy.
“Internet access is no longer optional for families to succeed,” said Department of Buildings Commissioner Melanie La Rocca. “We look forward to working with our agency partners and other stakeholders to help connect New Yorkers and build a fairer city for all as we help clarify policies for telecoms on approving the installation of wireless equipment.”
“DOT is proud to be part of the city’s new Internet Master Plan to help expand broadband and close the digital divide,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “Our light poles will be crucial to the effort, as they are an electrical source found along almost every street in all five boroughs. We look forward to having those poles play a new and creative role in bringing high-speed internet to communities that need it.”
“New York City's Internet Master Plan tackles the persistent digital divide in New York City head-on. We are excited to support this effort to ensure that all New Yorkers can take advantage of the power of high speed internet access in a safe and equitable way,” said Geoff Brown, Head, New York City Cyber Command.
“New York City continues to lead the way in building a tech-based economy that works for everyone,” said Aneesh Chopra, 1st Chief Technology Officer of the United States. “The Internet Master Plan demonstrates NYC is prepared to compete with anyone anywhere and is committed to solidifying its position as a globally recognized technology and innovation leader.”