One program will give free high-speed Internet and basic cable TV to 300,000 people who live in New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) developments. It will be activated progressively until the end of 2023
Free, accessible Wi-Fi can change the life of a New Yorker, and Big Apple Connect will link our city to the future. https://t.co/NUIcNqjNEE
— Mayor Eric Adams (@NYCMayor) September 20, 2022
NYCHA, the nation’s largest public housing system and normally associated with negative news of neglect and crime, will receive a major benefit associated with education, communications and entertainment.
A new program will bring free high-speed Internet and basic cable TV to about 300,000 people who live in New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) developments, Mayor Eric Adams announced.
“Big Apple Connect” will bring the Internet to NYCHA by the end of 2023, Adams said. Initially, the program was piloted in eight residential complexes.
“For too long, low-income communities, immigrant communities and communities of color have been ignored when it comes to accessing critical digital tools to help them succeed,” said Mayor Adams.
“Broadband is no longer a luxury, but a necessity that all New Yorkers should have access to. That is why by the end of next year, more than 200 NYCHA developments will have access to free high-speed Internet and cable television, giving approximately 300,000 New Yorkers access to essential tools to live a productive life.”
The City of New York has entered into three-year agreements with Altice (Optimum) and Charter (Spectrum), which together will cover the majority of developments owned and managed by NYCHA. In addition, city officials have ongoing negotiations with Verizon, Pix11 reported.
The program will help students, seniors, parents and job seekers, said Mayor’s Office of Technology and Innovation (OTI) Commissioner Matthew Fraser.
NYCHA residents will not be charged for basic services. Existing Optimum or Spectrum owners will be automatically enrolled in “Big Apple Connect” and will only be billed for additional options they choose to purchase outright.
Residents without existing service will be able to register directly through Spectrum or Optimum. Information on current and future eligible NYCHA buildings will be updated on OTI’s “Big Apple Connect” portal.
The NYCHA public housing system has more inhabitants than the entire population of cities like Boston or Denver. At the end of 2020, the NYC mayor reached an agreement with Verizon for the telecommunications company to expand its Fios broadband service to an additional 500,000 homes, including in NYCHA buildings.
In July of that year, then-Mayor Bill de Blasio announced $87 million for broadband expansion in the NYCHA network of public housing buildings, the largest in the country. The money would come from the controversial $1 billion cut to the NYPD’s annual budget.
During the peak of the pandemic in April 2020, 10,000 of the city’s most vulnerable residents at NYCHA communities in Brooklyn and the Bronx were offered a free tablet to help them stay connected and informed during lockdown, in a partnership agreement. mayor with T-Mobile.