Mayor Commits $157M to Closing Digital Divide

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This week, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio revealed a $157 million investment in the city’s “Internet Master Plan,” reported StateScoop. The plan aims to provide universal broadband to 1.5 million residents who currently lack access, according to the Mayor’s  Chief Technology Officer.

The Internet Master Plan desires to create jobs for minority and women-owned businesses as new infrastructure is needed. De Blasio is also committed to working with the city’s Taskforce on Racial Inclusion and Equity to ensure that discriminatory practices like “digital redlining,” which limits the internet access of certain neighborhoods, are ended. According to StateScoop, the increased investment more than doubles the city’s previous $70 million commitment to expanding internet infrastructure to poorly connected neighborhoods. 

“New York City’s digital divide is a barrier to individual opportunity, creates risks related to public health, and presents a threat to long-term economic growth,” city CTO John Paul Farmer said in a press release. “By investing and partnering to deliver low-cost broadband for communities in need, we are not only doing the right thing, we are doing the smart thing in connecting people to greater opportunity across all five boroughs, driving toward universal broadband, and setting New York City on a path to come back stronger than ever.”

In May, Farmer asked tech companies and ISPs to submit ideas to improve connectivity. The Internet Master Plan partnerships will be announced in late summer, with projects slated to begin in 2021.

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