NEW YORK (PIX11) — A new program will bring free high-speed internet and basic cable TV to around 300,000 people living in New York City Housing Authority developments, Mayor Eric Adams announced Monday.
Big Apple Connect will bring internet to developments by the end of 2023, Adams said. The prgram was initially piloted at eight NYCHA developments.
“For too long, lower-income communities, immigrant communities, and communities of color have been ignored when it comes to accessing the critical digital tools to help them succeed,” Adams said. “Broadband is no longer a luxury, but a necessity that all New Yorkers should have access to. That’s why by the end of next year, more than 200 NYCHA developments will have access to the free high-speed internet and cable TV — giving approximately 300,000 New Yorkers access to the essential tools to live productive lives.”
New York City entered into three-year agreements with Altice (Optimum) and Charter (Spectrum), which will collectively cover the majority of developments owned and managed by NYCHA. City officials have negotiations ongoing with Verizon.
The program will help students, senior citizens, parents and job seekers, CTO and Office of Technology and Innovation (OTI) Commissioner Matthew Fraser said.
“This citywide broadband initiative ensures that New Yorkers need not defer their dreams — or fail to meet basic needs — because they lack the resources to pay for internet or live in a pre-war building,” he said.
NYCHA residents will not be billed for the services. Residents who already have Optimum or Spectrum will be automatically enrolled in Big Apple Connect and will only be billed for additional services they choose to purchase directly
Residents without existing service will be able to sign up directly though Spectrum or Optimum. They can also go to on-site enrollment events. Information about current and future eligible NYCHA sites will be available on OTI’s ‘Big Apple Connect’ website.