Getting People Online: An Urgent Need
Getting people online is an urgent need during COVID-19 and beyond—for work, school, and life in general. The NYC Internet Master Plan indicates that 18 percent of New Yorkers, or 1.5 million people, have neither a home nor mobile internet connection. New Yorkers without internet connectivity are more negatively impacted during COVID-19, lacking the ability to easily access jobs, training, education, and mental health and healthcare resources. People need this now and going forward.
We must drive equity and inclusion through connectivity, ensuring that all New Yorkers can benefit from the technology we build for the future.
New York City is releasing a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the Universal Solicitation for Broadband. This RFP invites the telecommunications industry to create new affordable broadband service options through a first-ever coordinated system of access to more than 100,000 City assets. The RFP is being jointly issued by the Mayor’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer (MOCTO), the Department of Small Business Services (SBS), and New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC).
The RFP represents a first-in-the-nation approach to closing the digital divide and changing the broadband market: incentivizing companies—small and large, including M/WBEs—to provide new high-performing and affordable broadband service options. It also ensures that new broadband infrastructure and internet service offerings protect New Yorkers, by requiring respondents to adhere to five principles: equity, affordability, privacy, performance, and choice.
The RFP invites proposals from the telecommunications industry for broadband infrastructure assets such as fiber optics, conduits, wireless hub locations, or wireless networks to create more jobs and deliver affordable, high-speed in-home and public internet access. Through the RFP, the City expects to engage with multiple operators using a range of technologies that will lower connectivity costs and increase competition.
The goal is also to incentivize the private sector to reach and serve more customers, starting with priority areas identified by the Task Force on Racial Inclusion and Equity as most impacted by COVID-19, along with neighborhoods identified by the NYC Internet Master Plan as lacking access to affordable broadband. These priority areas include more than 200,000 New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) residents.
Participating City agencies have made more than 100,000 assets available for the RFP, providing a first-ever one-stop shop for respondents to work with the City of New York in delivering broadband to residents.
Proposals for the RFP are due April 19, 2021. The RFP and information on the submission process can be found here.