NYC expands Big Apple Connect to reach 150,000 homes

NYC's Big Apple Connect program will expand to deliver free broadband service from Altice and Charter to 17 new public housing sites. #pressrelease

August 1, 2023

3 Min Read

NEW YORK – New York City Mayor Eric Adams and Chief Technology Officer and New York City Office of Technology and Innovation (OTI) Commissioner Matthew Fraser today announced the expansion of "Big Apple Connect" to 17 new public housing developments —contributing to the delivery of free in-home internet and basic cable TV to a total of more than 330,000 in 150,000 households citywide. Building on the success of the program's first two phases, which prioritized New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) developments with limited or no subsidized broadband options, today's expansion answers calls from tenant associations and elected officials to expand the initiative, which now reaches a total of 220 NYCHA facilities.

The latest expansion of Big Apple Connect spans nine developments in Manhattan, seven in Brooklyn, and one in the Bronx — delivering the service to more than 30,000 additional New Yorkers. Nine of the developments are home to more than 1,000 households, including Baruch and Wald Houses on Manhattan's Lower East Side and Red Hook East and West in Brooklyn. Newly added developments are:

  • 303 Vernon Avenue (Brooklyn)

  • Atlantic Terminal Site 4B (Brooklyn)

  • Baruch Houses (Manhattan)

  • Baruch Houses Addition (Manhattan)

  • De Hostos Apartments (Manhattan)

  • Jefferson (Manhattan)

  • Kingsborough Houses (Brooklyn)

  • Kingsborough Extension (Brooklyn)

  • Manhattanville Houses (Manhattan)

  • Morrisania Air Rights (Bronx)

  • Red Hook East (Brooklyn)

  • Red Hook West (Brooklyn)

  • Riis Houses (Manhattan)

  • Riis Houses II (Manhattan)

  • Saint Nicholas (Manhattan)

  • Wald (Manhattan)

  • Woodson (Brooklyn)

New Yorkers can view a full list of Big Apple Connect eligible NYCHA developments online.

Mayor Adams launched 'Big Apple Connect' in September 2022, with a first phase that reached more than 90,000 households across 135 NYCHA developments and a promise to serve 200 sites by the end of 2023. This past March, the Adams administration expanded program eligibility to make it available to an additional 40,000 households at 67 new sites — completing the initial goal nine months ahead of schedule. In June, 'Big Apple Connect' surpassed 100,000 household enrollments and 75 percent adoption across eligible developments. The program, which is the largest municipal broadband program in the country, has saved NYCHA residents tens of millions of dollars since its inception, according to service providers.

'Big Apple Connect' provides residents of NYCHA developments a free bundle that consists of in-home, high-speed internet connection, including a modem and router; basic cable TV service, including a cable box and remote control; and common area Wi-Fi hotspots, selected in consultation with NYCHA.

Leveraging existing infrastructure to deliver affordable internet service as quickly as possible, OTI entered into three-year agreements with Altice (Optimum) and Charter (Spectrum), guaranteeing delivery of the program through 2025, with two extension options through 2027. OTI is billed directly for all residents enrolled in the program.

Existing customers of Optimum and Spectrum living in NYCHA developments where 'Big Apple Connect' is active are automatically enrolled in the program and are only billed for additional services they choose to purchase directly. Residents receive email notifications and mailers explaining why their bills were lowered as well as information on 'Big Apple Connect.' Residents without existing service can sign up directly though Optimum or Spectrum or may attend on-site enrollment events conducted by the companies in partnership with OTI.

'Big Apple Connect' builds on the city's suite of digital equity initiatives, aimed at making sure every New Yorker has the connectivity they need to participate in an increasingly digital society. Efforts include the Link5G program, which is aimed at delivering high-speed wireless service and free Wi-Fi to every corner of New York City; the city's Gigabit Centers, which provide free connectivity and digital literacy training to community centers; and OTI's 'Connected Communities' program, a large-scale digital inclusion initiative that delivers digital literacy and employment resources in historically underserved areas for thousands of New Yorkers every year.

Read the full press release here.

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