Roughly 300,000 New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) residents across 200 developments will get access to free broadband internet and cable TV by the end of next year, reports Politics NY. Mayor Eric Adams shared this new development on Monday at the Langston Hughes Houses in Brownsville, Brooklyn.
The program called “Big Apple Connect” started as a pilot at eight NYCHA developments across the five boroughs and will expand to over 100 campuses by the end of the year. The program goal is to get every NYCHA resident online. Especially since currently an estimated 30-40% of tenants in the NYCHA don’t have internet access.
“A 21st Century city like New York deserves a 21st Century infrastructure. And the reality is that that infrastructure has often passed NYCHA residents,” stated Mayor Adams. “Internet isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity, just like electricity and gas. We saw during COVID [an] absence of internet service. Our young people were not able to do their remote learning. We saw our elders were unable to do telemedicine. We saw just basic updates were not available. And it was just simply wrong.”
The $30 a month program will give each NYCHA tenant a bundle with free internet. The bundle includes a modem, router, basic cable and wifi in building common areas, according to a release.
The Adams administration will partner with Optimum and Spectrum for three-year terms to provide the service to NYCHA residents. They are also negotiations in the works with Verizon as a possible third provider.
Those who already have service through Optimum or Spectrum at developments where Big Apple Connects will be automatically enrolled in the program. Others will be able to sign up for the program directly with either provider or attend upcoming onsite enrollment events.
“Just as we need those other utilities we need internet services,” continued Adams. “We are focused on that. And for far too long, NYCHA residents have been disconnected while the rest of the city has been connected. So, today we want to bridge the digital divide with the rollout of the Big Apple Connect program.”