New York City Offers Free Internet and Cable to 300,000 Public Housing Residents

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New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced the launch of a program providing free high-speed internet and basic cable TV to 300,000 New Yorkers living in more than 200 New York City Housing Authority developments by the end of 2023. The program, offered in partnership with Charter Communications and Altice USA, aims to help the estimated 30% to 40% of NYCHA residents who lack broadband, Bloomberg reported.

Dubbed “Big Apple Connect,” the program, which started as a pilot at eight public housing developments across the five boroughs, will provide eligible residents a free bundle, including:

  • In-home high-speed internet connection
  • Modem and router
  • Basic cable TV service, including a cable box and remote control
  • Common area Wi-Fi hotspots, selected in consultation with NYCHA

“In 2022, in the wealthiest city in the country, no one should go without access to the internet. It is vital to our daily lives, to succeeding in school and in work, and is how we stay connected as a society, which is why ‘Big Apple Connect’ is so exciting,” Chief Housing Officer Jessica Katz said in the statement. “Bridging the digital divide is at the heart of building a more equitable city, and I want to thank Chief Technology Officer Fraser for putting NYCHA residents at the heart of this effort.”

The city is continuing to negotiate with Verizon as a possible third franchisee, according to the statement.

NYCHA residents enrolled in Big Apple Connect will also be able to use the federal Affordable Connectivity Program benefit — a discount of up to $30 per month — to pay their cell phone bills.

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“From schoolwork to employment, telehealth, and social services, New Yorkers rely on access to the internet in invaluable ways every day,” Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso said in the statement. “Far too many NYCHA residents, however, face tremendous barriers to high-speed, reliable internet and lose out on these benefits. Internet today is an essential resource, and inequities in access translate into inequities in everything from health care to education, to job opportunities, support services, and beyond. I commend Mayor Adams for beginning the process of addressing this disparity with free internet and cable TV for an increasing number of NYCHA residents throughout the year.”

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