New York City Pushes for Maximum Connectivity

Five new programs aim to solidify New York City’s standing as a tech leader.

by / June 21, 2012
Photo from Shutterstock

If Mayor Michael Bloomberg has his way, a series of new programs announced Thursday, June 21, in New York City will help position the city for the future, with world-class broadband connectivity and a thriving technology sector. The plan includes five concrete strategies to tackle specific challenges standing in the way.

These new initiatives carry ambitious goals that the city hopes to achieve within the next two years. Among other things, city leaders envision hundreds of additional city buildings with high-speed connectivity, 25,000 new broadband-related permits and a digital broadband map featuring thousands of commercial buildings.

Connect NYC aims to add high-speed Internet to industrial and commercial buildings. The program will help businesses supplement or add new connectivity, based on evidence of how improved connections will contribute to the success of their business. City officials expect to announce a partnership with Time Warner Cable in the near future that will help Connect NYC meet its goal to wire several hundred city buildings with fiber connectivity.

Wired NYC will publicize information about the broadband infrastructure of existing commercial buildings. The program presumably offers such properties an advantage when prospective tenants are deciding where to locate. More than 16 million square feet of commercial real estate in more than 300 buildings will be ranked through Wired NYC in the next two years.

“Broadband proliferation is essential for New York City to maintain its vibrancy and to continue to grow, and we are pleased to participate in the city’s efforts to increase access throughout the five boroughs,” said Jared Kushner, CEO of Kushner Companies. “Providing available information and creating a uniform standard to identify broadband access in NYC office buildings is a win for both tenant businesses and commercial real estate companies.”

A public website called the NYC Broadband Connect Map will unite several sources of information for a comprehensive picture of available connectivity in particular neighborhoods or buildings. According to the city, businesses will also be able to weigh in with perspectives on their current service levels, giving broadband providers a true picture of market demand for new or improved service. The New York City Economic Development Corp. (NYCEDC) is charged with launching the website this year.

City leaders will work with transportation officials to simplify processes for Internet service providers in a program called Broadband Express. A dedicated city staff person will serve as a liaison to businesses to streamline permitting and operations. New York City pledges to expedite processing of broadband-related permits to within an average of two business days. The city estimates that these improvements could permit as many as 25,000 broadband projects in the next two years.

“Broadband is the infrastructure of the modern age and a basic necessity not just for tech businesses, but for every business,” said Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert K. Steel in a statement. “These initiatives will harness market dynamics and create increased transparency to incentivize the private sector to expand New York’s broadband infrastructure.”

Citizen Connect
, a New York City app competition, is intended to ease access to job-related resources for low-income residents without Internet at home. Acknowledging the more ubiquitous nature of mobile platforms, the program calls on developers to create apps to connect residents with job-related resources.

These five programs were developed by the city’s Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications, along with the NYCEDC.