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Free internet services expanded for NYCHA residents Mas servicios gratuitos de Internet para los residentes de NYCHA – Manhattan Times News

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More Free Internet Services for New Yorkers

Burr Greg McQueen

Mayor Eric Adams announced the expansion of the “Big Apple Connect” program.

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City officials have announced that by the end of 2023, approximately 300,000 New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) development residents will have free access to high-speed Internet and basic cable television.

The “Big Apple Connect” program was initially piloted at eight NYCHA development projects across the city and has now expanded to 100 sites, Mayor Eric Adams said, making it the city’s largest free, large-scale program from the country.

More than 200 NYCHA developments will have free internet and cable access by the end of 2023, according to the city.

At a press conference September 19 at Langston Hughes Houses in Brooklyn, one of the experimental sites for Big Apple Connect, Adams noted that public housing residents have suffered from a lack of broadband Internet access.

“The Internet is not a luxury, it is a necessity like electricity and gas,” Adams said. “We have seen during the Covid pandemic, the absence of internet, that our young people have not been able to learn remotely. We have seen that our elders cannot do telemedicine.”

“For a long time, New Yorkers remained offline while the rest of the city was online,” he said.

The expanded program will provide New York City residents with a free package consisting of a high-speed Internet connection with a modem and router, basic cable TV service with a cable box and remote control, and Wi-Fi hotspots in public areas of their buildings.

By the end of 2023, Adams said, more than 200 New York City Humanitarian Development projects will have free access to the Internet and cable television.

Eligible individuals who live on NYCHA projects will be automatically enrolled in the program and will be charged only for additional services they choose to purchase directly.

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Technology Director Matt Fraser said the free internet program would increase equity for city residents.

“What we’re talking about here today is not just about free Wi-Fi. It’s about economic development, it’s about public health, it’s about safety, and it’s about having a fair chance like everyone else has money,” Fraser said. “And in public housing, he took his place in the back seat of others for a long time, simply because he did not have access to resources.”

In addition to the Langston Hughes homes, other experimental sites include the Mott Haven Houses, Patterson Houses in the Bronx, and the Polo Grounds in Harlem.

Officials said the city has signed three-year agreements with Optimum and Spectrum to provide the service, and is in talks with Verizon as a potential third provider.

Fraser said the total cost of the program will depend on the scope of development, but noted that the city will pay $30 per unit per month to provide services to NYCHA residents for free.

The “Big Apple Connect” program has now been expanded to 100 locations.

Cyprien Noel, president of the Langston Hughes Home Tenants Association, said the free internet program helps him connect with his two sons, who are in college outside New York, and cuts his expenses.

“I have two kids in college. I’m a single father. I only have one income in my house,” Noel said.

“That’s a $0.00 bill,” he said, waving his monthly internet bill at the press conference. “This program is very good.”

Housing Director Jessica Katz referred to NYCHA as the “largest and largest supplier of affordable housing” in New York City.

For decades, we let it crumble. So, little by little, we’ve been working hard to get things for NYCHA and trying to rebuild trust with the NYCHA residents and actually rebuild the buildings themselves, as well as the connection between the NYCHA residents and the rest of the city. York,” he said. “Today is really an important step toward that.”

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