On Tuesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that he would be redistributing the NYPD budget to help expand internet access in low-income areas like East New York and Brownsville, reports AmNY.
Around $87 million from the NYPD’s budget will be used to help fund the $157 million project. The aim of the project is to provide over 600,000 New Yorkers with internet access over the next 18 months. They will only be required to pay $15 a month.
As part of the initiative, Chief Technology Officer John Paul Farmer and the Economic Development Corporation will train young people from these areas to be certified technicians for minority and women-owned businesses.
The initiative will be implemented by the same racial inclusion task force headed by Mayor Deputy Phil Thompson and First Lady Chirlane McCray. Currently, almost 1 million New Yorkers do not have access to the internet. The percentage of those lacking internet access are high among New York City seniors and people of color.
“When our task force on racial inclusion and equity surveyed community organizations in the neighborhoods hardest hit by COVID the demand for broadband access was one of the most frequent responses we got,” said Thompson. “The internet is more a necessity these days than it is a convenience.”
The mayor also mentioned plans to introduce a law that would force broadband internet companies to pay for using the city infrastructure.
“They are profiting but they are not paying their fair share,” de Blasio said. “We need them to pay. We would use that money to provide even more broadband access for New Yorkers who don’t have it.”
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