Later on this year, New York City Mayor DeBlasio’s ConnectHome initiative will bring free, high-speed, broadband internet to a number of inner city housing projects in New York City.
Access to the internet is becoming an increasingly important factor in determining the quality of education that children receive and the overall amount of income adults bring in. While significant advances in internet speeds and coverage are being made across the country, much of that progress is financially unavailable to lower-income households.
"This effort helps close the digital divide and addresses the needs of the nearly 3 million New Yorkers who do not have access to broadband Internet at home,” said NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “Broadband access is no longer a luxury; it's a necessity.”
ConnectHome will be rolled out in NYC in three waves across different boroughs in late 2015: First up are the Queensbridge North and South projects in Queens, soon followed by Red Hook East and West Houses in Brooklyn. Rounding out the initiative will by Mott Haven in the South Bronx.
The city plans on spending $10 million in order to bring the internet to about 16,000 residents, supplementing the already free internet access available at all New York Public Library locations. At 25 megabytes per second, NYC’s ConnectHome internet won’t be the fastest in the city. Also, the plan does not subsidize the purchase of computers or other wi-fi enabled devices, meaning that residents might still have to make an initial investment of their own.
NYC’s ConnectHome initiative is modeled after a larger, nationwide plan laid out by the Obama Administration designed to provide more widespread internet access to low-income families across the country. Unlike NYC’s endeavor, the federal ConnectHome will focus on expanding public wi-fi access to some 200,000 people across the country.
“In this digital age, when you can apply for a job, take a course, pay your bills, order a pizza, even find a date by tapping your phone, the Internet is not a luxury, it’s a necessity,” Obama said in a speech yesterday. “You cannot connect with today’s economy without having access to the Internet.”