Neighborhoods in all five boroughs will soon be more connected than ever through an expanded free internet access program, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced this week.
Free public WiFi will be launched 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 and the East River waterfront in Lower Manhattan, the 125th Street corridor in Harlem and on Roosevelt Island; in Queens in Long Island City; in Staten Island in the St. George commercial district; and in the Bronx on Fordham Road.
“Free public wireless networks in neighborhoods across the five boroughs, along with the new broadband rating program, will advance our goal of equipping all New Yorkers with the tools they need to participate in the innovation economy,” said New York City Economic Development Corporation President Kyle Kimball. “At the same time, in order to develop and attract the talented workforce that our economy depends upon, we are training New Yorkers of all ages and backgrounds in technology and entrepreneurship, which will strengthen our economy for decades to come.”
The Wireless Corridor Challenge, which was led by the City’s Economic Development Corporation, was awarded to five organizations known for achievements in improving quality of life throughout the City, including the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, Alliance for Downtown New York, Brooklyn Academy of Music, GOWEX, and Flatiron 23rd Street Partnership.
The challenge was initially announced in the Mayor’s State of the City address and involved a competitive process that began in the spring of 2013. The program will increase 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 are responsible for developing a neighborhood plan to identify commercial corridor area, potential users in the area, and projected impact on populations such as businesses, residents and visitors; designing, installing, and launching a wireless network by obtaining requisite approvals for installation, partnering with sponsors, and marketing the program to users; and operating and maintaining the free, public access wireless network for a minimum of three years.
The Wireless Corridor Challenge will leverage private-sector partnerships to maximize the reach of the program. Targeted impact areas include growing technology centers such as Downtown Brooklyn and Long Island City, more established technology centers like the Flatiron district, cultural and educational centers such as BAM, as well as low- and middle-income areas and NYCHA housing in Fort Greene and Brownsville. All of the corridors are expected to launch in December of 2013. The City’s investment will be 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 the implementation. Each of the selected consultants have developed sustainability plans to insure the continuation of these corridors beyond the City’s initial investment.
The selected consultants and areas throughout the City include:
* Downtown Brooklyn Partnership: Downtown Brooklyn, the area bordered by Schermerhorn St, Cadman Plaza West, Flatbush Ave and Tillary St, and anticipated select public spaces in the NYCHA Ingersoll and Whitman houses
* Alliance for Downtown New York/LaunchLM: Lower Manhattan, along the Water Street corridor between Whitehall and Fulton Streets, extending to lively neighboring side streets including Stone Street and Front Street, and along the East River waterfront and piers in Lower Manhattan.
* Brooklyn Academy of Music: Fort Greene and Clinton Hill, Fulton Street between Rockwell Place to Classon Avenue
* GOWEX: Long Island City – Area bordered by Queens Plaza, Jackson Blvd and Vernon Blvd; Brownsville – area bordered by Sutter Avenue, Mother Gaston Boulevard, Pitkin Avenue and Howard Avenue; Harlem – 125th Street from Broadway to Second Avenue; Roosevelt Island, between the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge and Roosevelt Island Bridge; Staten Island – Hyatt Street between St. Marks Place and Stuyvesant Place; the Bronx – East Fordham Road from Grand Concourse to Arthur Avenue.
* Flatiron 23rd St. Partnership: Flatiron District – 23rd Street from Sixth Avenue to Third Avenue.