New York City Mayor Eric Adams and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Matthew Fraser on September 19, 2022, announced the citywide launch of ‘Big Apple Connect’ — a landmark digital equity program that will make free high-speed internet and basic cable TV available to approximately 300,000 New Yorkers living in more than 200 New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) developments by the end of 2023. Mayor Adams and CTO Fraser announced the program — initially piloted at eight public housing developments across the five boroughs, and which has now been expanded to more than 100 developments — at NYCHA’s Langston Hughes Houses in Brownsville, Brooklyn.
“A 21st-century city like New York deserves 21st-century infrastructure, and, today, we continue our quest to bridge the digital divide with the landmark rollout of ‘Big Apple Connect,’” said Mayor Adams. “For too long, lower-income communities, immigrant communities, and communities of color have been ignored when it comes to accessing the critical digital tools to help them succeed. Broadband is no longer a luxury, but a necessity that all New Yorkers should have access to.”
“Big Apple Connect is an innovative program that will enhance the lives of hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers living in public housing by providing them access to necessary broadband,” said First Deputy Mayor Lorraine Grillo.
“This citywide broadband initiative ensures that New Yorkers need not defer their dreams — or fail to meet basic needs — because they lack the resources to pay for internet or live in a pre-war building. Our city’s students, senior citizens, parents, and job seekers who need in-home, high-speed internet access the most will experience tangible day one benefits that enrich their lives for years to come,” said CTO and Office of Technology and Innovation (OTI) Commissioner Matthew Fraser.
Big Apple Connect will provide residents of NYCHA developments a free bundle that consists of in-home, high-speed internet connection, including a modem and router; basic cable TV service, including a cable box and remote control; and common area Wi-Fi hotspots, selected in consultation with NYCHA.
After requesting proposals earlier this year from existing New York City cable TV franchisees, the city entered into three-year agreements with Altice (Optimum) and Charter (Spectrum), which will collectively cover the majority of developments owned and managed by NYCHA. The city is continuing to negotiate with Verizon as a possible third franchisee. OTI will be billed directly for all residents enrolled in ‘Big Apple Connect’ for the three-year term.
NYCHA residents will not be billed anything for these services.