Free Broadband is Coming to Five NYC Affordable Housing Developments

The Queensbridge Houses will be among five developments to receive free broadband. Photo: Metro Centric/Flickr Creative Commons

Five public housing developments in the communities of Mott Haven in the Bronx, Queensbridge in Queens and Red Hook in Brooklyn, will be the recipients of free broadband internet this fall, in a plan announced by mayor Bill de Blasio and reported on by the Associated Press. 

All of the housing developments included in the $10 million initiative are among the five poorest in New York City. City officials claim they’d like to convey the sense that access to internet isn’t a privilege, but a modern fixture of 21st century life that everyone should enjoy.

“Broadband is as important today as access to electricity and running water was at the end of the 19th century,” Maya Wiley, counsel to the mayor, told the AP.

The mayor’s plans come on the heels of President Obama’s ConnectHome initiative, a program meant to expand high-speed internet connectivity at an affordable cost for low-income households across the country. ConnectHome, while currently in its nascent stages, plans to incorporate private, public and non-profit sector funding to provide high-speed internet to the 275,000 families and 200,000 children without easy access to internet throughout the United States.

As per the AP, mayor de Blasio has said he’d like to ensure all New Yorkers have affordable broadband access by 2025. High-speed internet is something readily available throughout New York in some pretty unassuming places, like subway platforms and even garbage cans.

The mayor’s plan to rollout free broadband for public housing units is all “about equity,” according to Maya Wiley.  “Without Internet, you are at a disadvantage, whether it is doing your homework or accessing government services,” she told the AP.

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