Press Releases

Statements from Borough Presidents Adams, Brewer, Diaz, Katz and Oddo
on their FCRC Vote to Expand Public WiFi Access in New York City

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.: “Throughout this process my office, my colleagues in the other boroughs and Comptroller Scott Stringer raised serious concerns about the proposed ‘LinkNYC’ WiFi program. We are grateful to this administration, especially the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications, for listening to our concerns and working with our offices to make this project more equitable. Thanks to our advocacy, the city has agreed to expand higher speed WiFi access throughout the five boroughs and to implement a 10 kiosk solar pilot program in The Bronx, among other concessions. Specifically, The Bronx will receive an additional 240 one-Gbps kiosk in the first four years of the eight year franchise agreement.  Moreover, by decoupling advertising and the one-Gbps speeds, a greater percentage of the total number of Bronx kiosks will now have 1-Gbps speeds at the end of the eight years.   From the time this was first proposed my office has been concerned that ‘LinkNYC’ would meet appropriate standards of equity and resilience, and issued a report outlining those concerns. Our negotiations on this issue have certainly helped to create a better system for the entire city. I commend my colleagues for their efforts on this issue. This shows that each of our boroughs, united in a cause, can affect positive change for our constituents.”

Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams: “Through negotiation with City Hall and DoITT, as well as the important collaboration between all five borough presidents, we have arrived at a stronger agreement that will better ensure equity in the expansion of free municipal WiFi. Our voices were heard on critical issues such as the need to enhance community input on the siting of Wi-Fi kiosks, as well as on investing revenue from the deal into infrastructure improvements that will help our City close the digital divide for Brooklynites and all New Yorkers. Thanks to the collaboration of my partners in government, this is a deal I can be proud to support.”

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer: “Today’s agreement meets the goals that I and the other Borough Presidents were fighting for: community input on the siting of WiFi kiosks and more high-speed hotspots in northern Manhattan and the other boroughs. These improvements to the original proposal make it a plan worth voting for. I’m glad that, working together, we could deliver this win for all New Yorkers.”
Queens Borough President Melinda Katz: “It’s great news that free, citywide public WiFi is on the way. Free public Internet is more than just a leisurely perk, it's a way to fairly bridge the Digital Divide already predisposed to income inequality. City Hall has sufficiently addressed our concerns in an MOU that formalizes a siting agreement, a plan to ensure equitable access and a process for community input.  I thank the administration for recognizing the potential in Queens and taking effective steps to ensure our fair share and facilitate our economic growth.  I also thank Comptroller Stringer for uniting with the Borough Presidents on this issue.”

Staten Island Borough President James Oddo: “We have carefully gone through this process with the goal of ensuring that city taxpayers get the best deal possible, as well as the fastest and most accessible WiFi access.  Additionally, we have been careful to build in protections, which guarantee that each borough's public officials play an important role in the siting of these units, and by working diligently with my colleagues, the comptroller, and the Administration we have achieved that. Going forward, we will continue to work with the Administration and CityBridge to ensure Staten Island receives the best possible WiFi service and that the units are sited in appropriate locations.”

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