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PR- 152-05
April 22, 2005


Plan Calls for Public/Private Partnerships to Extend Broadband Service to All Areas of the City

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today announced a new, comprehensive plan to improve the City's telecommunications infrastructure and spur the growth of new telecommunications businesses in the City.  "Telecommunications and Economic Development in New York City: A Plan for Action," is a result of the collaborative efforts of the Economic Development Corporation (EDC), the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT) and the Department of Small Business Services (SBS), and recommends 21 specific initiatives the City should undertake over the next two to five years, many in cooperation with the State and the private sector.  One of the major recommendations of the plan is for the City to work with existing private broadband and telecom providers to pilot innovative ways to deploy broadband services to all areas of the five boroughs and educate businesses about the potential uses of broadband technology.

"Although New York City residents and businesses have access to an array of high-speed telecommunications connections and services that no other city can match, there are specific parts of the City where access is limited, such as Hunts Point in the Bronx and Sunset Park, Brooklyn," said Mayor Bloomberg. "If New York City is to maintain its role as a world center of finance, communications and culture, we have to extend access to broadband communications to all, as well as continuously improve the reliability of our telecommunications networks and take advantage of emerging technologies."

Other major recommendations of the report include:

  • Dedicate a portion of Federal funds for rebuilding Lower Manhattan to strengthening Downtown Manhattan's fiber optic infrastructure and developing a wireless network to provide back-up capabilities.
  • Use City-owned and other public property for infrastructure to support new wireless technologies.
  • Encourage Business Improvement Districts and other local organizations to promote the use of wireless technologies and improve access to broadband at the local level.
  • Collaborate with universities to support development of new technologies and business ventures in telecommunications.
  • Develop programs to educate small business owners about the basics of broadband communications and how broadband can improve their businesses.

"Working with the private sector to enhance broadband access in all areas of the City is in keeping with the Mayor's commitment to support the members of the industrial and manufacturing sector, the majority of which are small businesses that do not have adequate high-speed Internet access," said EDC President Andrew M. Alper. "This plan delineates the steps the City should take to improve, enhance and ensure network reliability for the entire City."

The plan was drafted with the assistance of a 14-member Telecommunications Policy Advisory Group that included representatives of the telecommunications industry, commercial property owners, industry analysts, academic experts and business and community organizations. The diversity of the Group contributed to understanding the trends reshaping the telecommunications sector, and the affects these trends will have on New York City and how best to understand them.

"Continuous improvement to New York telecommunications infrastructure is vital to the health of our economy," said DoITT Commissioner Gino Menchini. "It's not a job that City government can do by itself. This plan recognizes that city and state agencies, the telecommunications sector, the real estate industry, major not-for-profit institutions and neighborhood organizations all have a role to play."

"In the years ahead, the ability to take advantage of new telecommunications technologies will be an important factor in the success of small businesses and in the economic vitality of neighborhoods," said SBS Commissioner Robert Walsh. "The research we've done and the people we've consulted in the course of putting this plan together really helped us focus on how we could give small businesses and low-income neighborhoods a chance to benefit from the changes that will be taking place."

"New York City deserves to have the best wireless communications network possible," said Ann Barre, Managing Director of the New York Wireless Access Coalition. "We commend EDC, SBS and DoITT for creating this forward-thinking plan to ensure that critical infrastructure is in place throughout the City to support the millions of wireless communications subscribers who need and depend on reliable wireless service every single day."

The members of the Telecommunications Policy Advisory Group are:

  • Robert Atkinson, Columbia University Institute for Tele-Information
  • Bill Berkman, Liberty Associated Partners
  • Jane Builder, T-Mobile
  • Jonathan Bowles, Center for an Urban Future
  • Barbara Chang, NPowerNY
  • Thomas Dunne, Verizon
  • Victoria Galsterer, New York State Public Service Commission
  • John Gilbert, Rudin Management
  • Franklin Madison, Industrial Technology Assistance Corporation
  • Patricia Noonan, Partnership for New York City
  • Dan Reingold, Telecommunications analyst
  • Julie Richardson, Providence Equity Partners
  • Howard Szarfarc, Time Warner Cable
  • Kirk Watson, Flushing Community Access Network Corporation

Appleseed, a New York City-based economic development consulting firm, also assisted the three agencies in the preparation of the plan. For a copy of the plan, log onto:


Edward Skyler / Jennifer Falk   (212) 788-2958

Michael Sherman / Jennifer Nelson   (Economic Development Corp.)
(212) 312-3523

More Resources
Read Telecommunications Action Plan (in PDF)