New York City launches broadband expansion program

The city of New York has launched a series of initiatives designed to improve broadband access. The city is emerging as a technology hub, but many players in the technology industry have noted the lack of broadband services and wifi access throughout the city. In an announcement yesterday Mayor Bloomberg said that the new initiatives were a means of responding to this increased demand.

The initiatives include a competition to build out fiber wiring for commercial and industrial buildings, a grading program for connectivity in New York City buildings, a crowd-sourced digital map highlighting wired buildings citywide, a streamlined process for broadband-related permitting as well as exploring the streamlining of regulatory issues, and a competition to develop mobile applications to help residents access critical services provided by the City and community-based organizations.

City officials say that the new initiatives will ensure that tens of thousands of buildings throughout the city will now be certified and wired for high-speed access. “The growing technology industry is diversifying the City’s economy and creating the jobs of the future,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “To support those jobs, we need to help the industry get the resources it needs – whether that means more qualified engineers or broadband connections. But encouraging investment in broadband will help more than just the tech sector – it will make sure more businesses and more New Yorkers can get connected.”

A recent study by New York-based think tank, Center for an Urban Future, shows that New York now ranks as the second largest technology hub under the Silicon Valley/Bay Area in California. According to the report, venture capital investment in new startup companies in the city has increased 32% since 2007. IT job growth is also the one of the fastest growing sectors in the city.

“Broadband proliferation is essential for New York City to maintain its vibrancy and to continue to grow, and we are pleased to participate in the City’s efforts to increase access throughout the five boroughs.” said Jared Kushner, CEO of Kushner Companies.