New NYC Affordable Housing Must Come With Internet Service, City Says (NYC Dept. of Housing Preservation & Development)

Date Published: 
April 7th, 2021

From Next City:

During the presidential campaign last summer, Joe Biden released a “Plan for Rural America” calling for an investment of $20 billion to expand broadband internet access in rural communities, where, the plan noted, residents are 10 times more likely than urbanites to live without a high-speed internet connection. But even in America’s biggest cities, broadband access is not universal. Nor is it equitably distributed.


Last year, as Next City reported, New York released an Internet Master Plan aimed at expanding broadband access more equitably. Now, the city is making broadband access a necessary component of new affordable-housing projects that use city funds. In March, the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development adopted a new set of Design Guidelines meant to “ensure newly constructed buildings promote equity, health, and sustainability,” the Department said in a press release. According to the new guidelines, whenever feasible, all new affordable housing that use city funds must be wired for high-speed internet and provide it to all tenants at no cost to them.

Every newly constructed unit must have wireless internet service and a wired connection point in every living room, with secure access and a unique profile for every resident, with a “preferred system capacity of 100 Megabits per second” supporting “four simultaneous moderate users or devices,” according to the guidelines. The guidelines, developed in partnership with both the city’s Task Force on Racial Inclusion & Equity and the affordable-housing development industry, are intended to begin treating broadband access as a standard utility.

Read Next City's article "New NYC Affordable Housing Must Come With Internet Service, City Says," featuring the NYC Dept. of Housing Preservation & Development.

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