As part of an effort to close the digital divide and drive down the cost of Internet in the five boroughs, New York City announced the formation of a Broadband Taskforce and put out an open “Call for Innovations” which the City hopes will generate new approaches for reaching underserved communities.
The Broadband Taskforce will be reviewing ideas emerging from the CFI and exploring how these ideas can be connected to larger broadband strategies.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a release announcing these initiatives that the digital divide creates a fundamental difference between those who have access to economic and educational opportunities and those who do not.
The Mayor added that ensuring that all New Yorkers have affordable, high-speed Internet access is a top priority for his administration and a key strategy in their agenda to fight inequality.
New York City Chief Technology Officer Minerva Tantoco likewise noted that eliminating the digital divide is one of the defining issues of our modern age, one that requires ideas as big and bold as the problem itself.
Tantoco added that the Call for Innovations presents an incredible opportunity to deliver free or affordable Internet to millions of New Yorkers who don’t have it at home.
The Mayor’s Office of Technology and Innovation has released an open solicitation for new ideas and proposals for providing affordable broadband in underserved communities. You can get the details and submit your policy ideas and project proposals at innovation.nyc.
The CFI initiative targets technology companies and entrepreneurs, along with smaller ISPs who have insight into the entry barriers in the NYC telecommunications and Internet marketplace.
NYC Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Alicia Glen said they’re calling on the city’s tech ecosystem to contribute their most innovative ideas to fuel this process, which in the long term will be a major asset not just to individuals, but to the city’s businesses and the broader economy.
NYC Economic Development Corporation President Kyle Kimball said that enlisting the tech sector and the city’s entrepreneurs to come up with creative solutions connecting more New Yorkers to educational resources, health care, and job opportunities online helps to both foster emerging businesses and create a more fair and equitable city.
The Broadband Taskforce will be led by Counsel to the Mayor Maya Wiley, who said in the release that they will build the bridge that crosses the digital divide and creates a 21st century road to opportunity by bringing together experts as advisors on the Broadband Task Force, building the City’s staffing, and engaging the public in sharing information and ideas.