The Launch of NYC Broadband – Making Harlem And NYC Better

December 24, 2013

bbmapscreen_GKNew York City Economic Development Corporation today announced the launch of the NYC Broadband Map, an initiative designed to expand connectivity and ensure that the City further establishes its position as a leader in technology in the 21st century.  The NYC Broadband Map, first announced by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg in June 2012, is designed to provide an up-to-date view of the availability of broadband infrastructure in the City’s commercial buildings, as well as a view of emerging demand for broadband services in the City’s commercial buildings and neighborhoods. The NYC Broadband Map draws information from multiple sources, including Internet Service Provider (ISP) partners and City programs like WiredNYC and ConnectNYC, to display information about broadband speed and technologies available at the building level.  The map also crowd-sources information from businesses and building owners around New York City (including the Harlem WiFi network, who share details on their current service, as well as the type of service they would ideally like to have in their buildings, allowing broadband companies to understand existing capacities and emerging demand for improved service.  The map will display relevant broadband availability information such as speed available, type of technology, and providers, as well as consumer demand information such as desired connectivity and service types.  The NYC Broadband Map can be viewed at

“The NYC Broadband Map and Wireless Corridors will further position New York City as a leader in connectivity and an innovator in the field,” said NYCEDC President Kyle Kimball.  “These initiatives will help residents, visitors and businesses succeed, keeping New York City on the forefront of the digital age.”

“Broadband is the vital infrastructure of the 21st Century city,” said Citywide Chief Information and Innovation Officer Rahul N. Merchant. “By collaborating with public and private partners we have brought essential high-speed Internet to communities, neighborhoods, and businesses across the five boroughs. These initiatives are fueling economic growth and creating more opportunities for New Yorkers, which will establish our City’s position as a center for technology and innovation for years to come.”

“Expanding access to the Internet is fundamental to New York City’s digital future and will increase academic and economic opportunities across the five boroughs,” said Rachel Haot, New York City’s Chief Digital Officer. “These initiatives will help New Yorkers connect online, interact with their communities and make informed decisions about their broadband options.”

“Today’s announcement advances an initiative of “A Stronger, More Resilient New York,” the City’s resiliency plan,” said Daniel Zarrilli, New York City’s Director of Resiliency.  “This plan is multi-layered and will strengthen coastal defenses, upgrade buildings, protect City infrastructure and critical services like broadband connectivity, and make neighborhoods safer and more vibrant.  The NYC Broadband Map, ConnectNYC, and Wired NYC will improve the quality of telecommunications infrastructure and will benefit all New Yorkers, increasing the resiliency of homes and businesses around the City.”

As fast and reliable broadband access becomes increasingly critical for economic development across key sectors, the Bloomberg Administration convened a series of conversations with leading businesses and technology entrepreneurs throughout New York City – including members of the Mayor’s Council on Technology and Innovation – in order to determine solutions to improve transparency in the broadband marketplace and allow the City’s technology economy to prosper.  The resulting NYC Broadband Map is intended to provide critical information to tenants, landlords and ISPs during the process of configuring broadband connection.  The map, which will be expanded on an ongoing basis, is a valuable tool for commercial businesses that rely on Internet service for their daily operations to help them make informed location and relocation decisions based on broadband access. Tenants who register will be able to see which buildings have fiber and what others are saying about their connectivity.  Landlords, property managers, and building owners are also encouraged to submit comments requesting service or speed improvements to their buildings, and they will be able to see what tenants in their building are saying about connectivity.  The 10 ISPs that have partnered with the City have shared information on where their high-speed broadband service is available, pre-populating the map with data on the broadband technology and speed availability on nearly 2,000 commercial buildings in New York City.  These ISP partners include: Cogent Communications; Lightower; Metcom Network Services; Optical Communications Group; Rainbow Broadband; Stealth Communications; Transit Wireless; tw telecom; XChange  Telecom; and Zayo Group. Participating ISPs can view information and receive notifications about emerging demand and customer comments, making it easier to reach out directly to potential customers who need service improvements.

“Lightower continues to support and invest in the widespread adoption of business broadband throughout New York City,” said Rob Shanahan, CEO of Lightower.  “At Lightower, we believe that network performance drives business performance. Our end-to-end fiber services are now available in hundreds of New York City buildings and we are adding new buildings every day.  The NYCEDC broadband programs and tools are great ways for businesses to identify how Lightower can serve them, and we are excited to be a part of this program from Mayor Bloomberg.”

“Metcomnet is very pleased to be a part of the NYCEDC Broadband Awareness and Mapping Project,” said Mark DuMoulin Sr., President, Metcom Network Services, Inc.  “With bandwidth hungry applications abounding and global weather patterns changing, Customers are in acute need of higher speed, scalable and resilient Internet Access Service. Metcomnet’s Hybrid Redundant Service is ready to serve the need. New York City is again the proven Leader in Business Real Estate Value.”

“We are honored to continue partnering with NYCEDC’s broadband initiatives,” said Shrihari Pandit, President and CEO of Stealth.  “The Broadband Map program makes it easier for businesses who depend on Internet connectivity, to relocate and grow here in the City. Stealth is currently building the newest fiber optic system in NYC, designed for delivering Ultrafast Internet and inter-building fiber connectivity for businesses economically.”

“We are pleased to participate in the NYC Broadband Map,” said Robert Bianco, VP and general manager of tw telecom Manhattan. “This will be a valuable tool for all NYC tenants who are looking to identify and obtain office space in which the property’s owner values top tier connectivity.”

“New York City, with its position as a world leading business market, relies on a robust broadband edge for businesses to connect to their digital worlds”, said Darren Feder, President of Xchange Telecom.  “After 25 years of explosive network growth, principally in Manhattan’s Midtown East and Wall Street where there is well built out infrastructure, it is time for the other neighborhoods in Manhattan and the Boroughs to provide the digital business environment needed for NYC to continue to thrive.  Businesses can now access the NYC Broadband Connect Map to keep track of companies like Xchange Telecom who are committed to building out the next generation of broadband infrastructure throughout New York City.”

NYCEDC also today announced the official launch of the first set of free public WiFi corridors, with live networks now operational and with more networks going live in December and early 2014.  Announced by Mayor Bloomberg in September 2013, the Wireless Corridors will upon completion provide free WiFi in Brooklyn along the Fulton Street corridor, BAM Cultural District, Brownsville, and Downtown Brooklyn; in Manhattan in the Flatiron District, along the Water Street Corridor, the East River waterfront in Lower Manhattan, and the 125th Street corridor in Harlem; in Queens in Long Island City; in Staten Island in the St. George commercial district; and in the Bronx on Fordham Road, as well as other areas citywide.

The Wireless Corridor Challenge was awarded in September 2013 to five organizations known for achievements in improving quality of life throughout the City, including the Alliance for Downtown New York, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, Flatiron 23rd Street Partnership and GOWEX.  These partnerships were initially announced by Mayor Bloomberg in September 2013.  The program increases wireless connectivity in New York City commercial and residential districts, which is a critical step in attracting new businesses to a neighborhood, increasing foot traffic and marketing within a business district, connecting residents and visitors within a neighborhood, improving quality of life, and bridging the digital divide.  The selected consultants will operate and maintain the free, public access wireless network for a minimum of three years.  The Wireless Corridors will leverage private-sector partnerships to maximize the reach of the program.  The City’s investment is leveraged by private sector commitments totaling over $3.4 million dollars, with the City providing a total of $900,000 in additional funding to assist with implementation.

“Connectivity is the key to success in today’s global economy,” said William Bernstein, acting president of the Downtown Alliance. “With over 600 tech and innovation firms located below Chambers Street, this free Water Street Wifi network will further advance Lower Manhattan as a destination for new firms looking to open their doors and will be a huge boon to the district’s workers, residents and tourists.  Thank you to Mayor Bloomberg, Deputy Mayor Steel and EDC President Kyle Kimball for their leadership in providing free, public WiFi across our city.”

“As the BAM Cultural District continues to evolve into the model of a 21st century cultural center, we are excited to provide this WiFi access to our neighborhood and those who visit our community each day,” said BAM President Karen Brooks Hopkins. “We’re grateful to Mayor Bloomberg and the City for including us in this project and look forward to the advancements that this free wireless network will foster.”

“Dramatically expanding public WiFi throughout Downtown Brooklyn and bridging the cost of the ‘last mile’ needed to bring fiber connectivity to office buildings in the district were key priorities outlined in the recent Brooklyn Tech Triangle Strategic Plan,” said Downtown Brooklyn Partnership President Tucker Reed. “The City’s visionary commitment to expanding access to wireless and broadband in commercial districts not only helps to support the growth of the innovation economy in Downtown Brooklyn, but also ensure that the entire Brooklyn Tech Triangle is a dynamic, engaging place for residents, workers, and students alike.”

“The Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership is excited to be implementing this important initiative,” said Flatiron BID Executive Director Jennifer Brown. “This network, part of the BID’s Public Improvement Program, will provide yet another amenity for those who live, work, and visit here.  I’d like to acknowledge EDC for its important work on this effort and thank Mayor Bloomberg for his continued leadership and vision in moving the city forward in this digital age.”

“With the official launch of the Wireless Corridor and other NYCEDC initiatives in the broadband space, New York is becoming the best connected city in the world” said Jenaro García, GOWEX CEO. “With thousands of WiFi hotspots spread in the districts, the neighborhood and touristic interaction will transform the city into a big wireless social network, boosting the WiFi connection to a new category: the Social WiFi.”

The New York City Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT) also today announced the completion of initiatives in partnership with cable franchises to expand access to free, publicly available broadband. Cablevision provided free, commercial-grade Internet service to all 77 public libraries in its service area in Brooklyn and the Bronx; Time Warner Cable launched 12 Internet-ready public computer centers, in partnership with local not-for-profit organizations, with 28 more to come by 2020.

In addition to the NYC Broadband Map and Wireless Corridors, the City’s suite of larger broadband initiatives features a variety of other innovative programs that have previously been launched or will continue to be implemented in the future.  These include: ConnectNYC, a program that provides free construction and Installation of fiber internet for commercial and industrial buildings across the five boroughs.  The program was recently extended through March 2014; WiredNYC, a building certification program that evaluates the broadband infrastructure of New York City buildings in order to encourage and accelerate deployment of leading broadband technologies; Broadband Express, an initiative led by Deputy Mayor Steel in partnership with DoITT and the NYC Department of Transportation, designed to simplify operational issues as well as regulatory hurdles for ISPs; and CitizenConnect, a competition to be led by NYCEDC and DoITT – to develop mobile applications that will help City residents access workforce development opportunities, jobs listings and worker support programs such as childcare, healthcare and transportation.

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