Diversity & Inclusion
Internet / Municipal government

NYCEDC teams up with ISPs to bring faster internet to Brooklyn businesses

So-called “digital deserts” are still a problem in NYC. Two new deals announced by the city's economic development arm aim to fix that for parts of Brooklyn and Queens.

The internet awaits. (Photo by Flickr user Sean MacEntee, used under a Creative Commons license)

Jacques Bastien, CEO of Boogie, a social media agency, needs reliable broadband access.
“If there is no internet, there is no business,” he said.
Some of Boogie’s employees work from a coworking space in Williamsburg. That place accommodates Boogie’s internet needs. Sure, the internet has been down a few times and Boogie’s workers have had to use their cellphones as a WiFi hotspot, Bastien said, but “nowadays there is nothing really wrong” with how his company is covered by Wiliamsburg’s internet.
Still, Bastien says he can imagine a different story for Brooklyn’s videographers and photographers who need to upload heavy files online.
Not to mention the digital deserts that still plague the Big Apple.
On July 1, the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) unveiled a $5.3 million plan to improve high-speed broadband coverage for companies located in Industrial Business Zones in Southwest Brooklyn, North Brooklyn, Greenpoint-Williamsburg and Long Island City.
These four areas “were selected because they were underserved” in terms of broadband coverage, NYCEDC Public Affairs VP Kelly Magee wrote in an email to Technical.ly Brooklyn, “and therefore the businesses within were not able to meet their full potential.”
The new internet networks will be constructed and operated by Stealth Communications Services and Xchange Telecom, two ISPs based in New York City. NYCEDC will invest $1.6 million in this coverage project, and contributions from both private internet providers will amount to about $3.75 million.
“It’s very costly for us to make investments” to equip digital deserts with high-speed internet, said Shrihari Pandit, president and CEO of Stealth Communications. Pandit said that the partnership with NYCEDC and Xchange Telecom will make it easier for his company to “take that risk” of investing in underserved areas.
“Today, thousands and thousands of businesses” in Brooklyn and Queens need broadband access, said Alan Levy, chairman and cofounder of Xchange Telecom. “We see the opportunity is enormous.”
“The first businesses could start getting service as early as this fall,” NYCEDC’s Magee said. According to the contracts, Magee said, the internet networks “are to be substantially complete, connecting 500 businesses total, within two years.” June 2017.
If your company wants faster broadband, you can express interest on NYCEDC’s website.

Companies: New York City Economic Development Corporation
Series: Brooklyn

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