NYC launches broadband initiatives to encourage citywide buildout

New York City is looking to capitalize on the broadband growth within its technology sectors by encouraging further buildout of fiber and improving connectivity for both businesses and private citizens through a series of new initiatives.

Michael BloombergChristine Quinn, NYC Council

From top: Bloomberg, Quinn. (Image sources: New York City Council, Office of the Mayor)

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn on Friday announced the initiatives, developed in partnership with NYCEDC (New York City Economic Development Corporation) and the Dept. of Information Technology and Communications. The programs will encourage broadband growth by streamlining permitting processes, debuting a competition for fiber wiring of commercial and industrial buildings, and a crowd-sourced digital map of wired buildings throughout the city, among other initiatives, according to the NYCEDC blog.

The city's broadband initiatives were outlined in the blog on Friday. ConnectNYC is a competition to build out fiber into commercial and industrial buildings throughout five boroughs, as well as a program to help small to medium sized businesses apply for free "fast-track" wiring. Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) may partner with NYC to help roll out high-speed Internet. WiredNYC, by contrast, will evaluate and certify broadband infrastructure within city buildings to "create transparency about broadband infrastructure in the commercial real estate market" and create a selling point for real estate agents and landlords.

Crowdsourcing and mobile apps will play a role on the consumer side. The NYC Broadband Connect Map will be a crowdsourced website where broadband connectivity and capabilities in each neighborhood will be visible. Another community group, CitizenConnect, encourages mobile app developers to come up with connectivity-focused applications to help residents access broadband to find job opportunities and assistance.

Additionally, the city will attempt to streamline operational issues for ISPs through the Broadband Express program. According to NYCEDC, the city will "commit to processing all standard broadband-related street operations permits within two business days, on average" as well as designate a point person for the program and an accountability system.

For more:
- NYCEDC has this blog post

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