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New York City to Provide Free High Speed Internet, Cable to 200 Public Housing Sites

Mayor Eric Adams the new Big Apple Connect program will provide low-income New Yorkers

Mayor Eric Adams

NEW YORK, NY — Free high-speed internet and cable is coming to 300,000 NYCHA residents by the end of 2023, Mayor Eric Adams said.

Adams said Monday the new Big Apple Connect program will provide low-income New Yorkers with what is now a necessity such as electricity and gas: broadband access.

The program will be the largest municipal effort to cover the cost of internet for public housing residents in the nation, he said.

“We’re making free high-speed internet and basic cable TV available to 300,000 New Yorkers in more than 200 public public housing developments by the end of 2023,” he said.

“This is the largest municipal-sponsored broadband program for public housing residents.”
City officials have long spoke about “digital divide” between well-to-do New Yorkers and those scraping by. About 30 to 40 percent of NYCHA residents lack access to high-speed internet, officials said.

Adams said the coronavirus pandemic illustrated this when school children weren’t able to connect to remote classrooms or seniors had trouble logging on to telemedicine appointments.

Big Apple Connect began with a pilot at Langston Hughes Houses in Brownsville, where he made the announcement, as well as seven other developments across the five boroughs, officials said.

NYCHA residents will receive a free bundle with a in-home, high-speed internet connection, basic cable TV service, including a cable box and remote control, and common area Wi-Fi hotspots, officials said.

The program will expand to 100 NYCHA developments as of Monday, with an eye toward all public housing by 2023, officials said.

“The only other program that rivals what we will do with Big Apple Connect is what exists on the federal level with the federal agency,” said Matthew Fraser, the city’s chief technology officer.

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