Frequently Asked Questions

Round II FAQs

  1. Is there electric connectivity where the red dots are on the lighting map?
  2. No, those poles and associated electrical connections have been removed.

  3. Is power available in the park?
  4. Yes, power is available, see the electrical as-builts for Phase 1 of the Park and The Hills.

  5. What are the restrictions regarding wiring -  are we allowed to bury wires in between different access point locations?
  6. On the North Island, an archeologist would need to be consulted. There are no restrictions on the South Island.

  7. In addition to the ferries, should coverage include the ferry terminal in Manhattan (the Battery Maritime Building) as well?
  8. Yes, coverage should include the Battery Maritime Building, but it’s not necessary to cover the ferry terminal in Brooklyn.  

  9. Are there any restrictions on the types of radios and antennas that can be used on the ferries and on the Island?
  10. There are no restrictions on the equipment as long as it does not interfere with regular operations.

  11. Other than the Battery Maritime Building, are there any other indoor spaces where wi-fi should be available?
  12. Indoor spaces that are open to the public should be included for coverage. Those are Nolan Park, the Admiral’s House, and the bathrooms at Building 110.

  13. When the new ferry is introduced in 2019, will that replace the current ferry (the Coursen)?
  14. The new ferry will only carry passengers (not vehicles) and will be used to supplement the Coursen, not to replace it.

  15. Does Governors Island have an existing internet provider?
  16. Verizon currently provides limited service for The Trust and the Harbor School. Verizon plans to provide service for tenants on Governors Island in the future, but not for public use. There is also currently a Towersteam connection for The Trust’s use that is being abandoned.

  17. Would it be possible to establish a secure IT closet in one of The Trust’s buildings? For example, could Liggett Hall be used to store equipment?
  18. Yes, it could be possible to establish an IT closet in Liggett Hall or another building on the Island, depending on the structural integrity of the building and access to electricity. The Trust encourages respondents to propose specific locations but to be flexible if it’s necessary to adjust plans.

  19. In the event that Liggett Hall is used to house an IT closet, would it be possible to run fiber from one end of the building to the other?
  20. Yes.

Round I FAQs


  1. Are the buildings in the Eastern Development Zone coming down? Will all the barracks be demolished?
  2. There are currently no immediate plans to demolish the buildings in the Eastern Development Zone. The Trust plans to eventually demolish the barracks, but new construction in the Eastern Development zone is not expected to commence for at least three years. Former barracks and nearly all other buildings in the Island’s Historic District (the northern portion of the Island), are landmarked and available for adaptive reuse.

  3. Will proposers have to work around planned construction?
  4. The Trust does not anticipate that any potential construction in the next year will conflict with the wi-fi deployment.

  5. Is there any public funding available?
  6. No, there is no public funding. The Trust will award up to three Round II finalists $25,000 each for field testing and installation. In addition, the Challenge winner will have the opportunity to negotiate commercial terms for the contract to provide the Governors Island broadband network.

  7. What kind of vehicles are on the island?
  8. Vehicles are primarily golf carts for staff use and security purposes. Vendors and event production teams bring in vehicles and trucks for materials transportation as needed with advanced approvals from The Trust and in accordance with The Trust’s vehicle policy.

  9. How high did the water rise on the Island during Hurricane Sandy?
  10. In 2012, the Southern portion of Governors Island was under construction. The Trust was in the process of building a new 43-acre resilient park, which involved transforming the topography and elevating the land above the 100-year flood plain. With the first phase of the park’s elevation having been just completed, the Southern portion of the Island did not experience any flooding during Sandy. In certain portions of the Island’s Historic District and waterfront facing buildings, the water rose to roughly five feet above the seawall.

  11. How do people get around the Island?
  12. Visitors generally walk or bike around Governors Island. There are three CitiBike docking stations and a bike rental company (Blazing Saddles) on the Island. To keep the Island pedestrian-friendly, private vehicles are prohibited, service vehicles are limited and staff drive golf carts.

  13. What different ways of mobility do you see in the future (such as shuttle buses or cars)?
  14. Governors Island today is car-free; visitors travel throughout the Island either by foot or bicycle. The Trust may explore other on-Island transit modes, such as trolley or shuttle, in the coming years.

  15. Are there extra ferries for big events?
  16. The Trust works with event programmers to arrange supplemental ferry service for large scale events.

  17. What are the regular hours of operation for the ferry?
  18. During Public Access season, from May 1- October 31, the ferry operates from 10am to 6pm during the week and 10am to 7pm on the weekends. There are additional ferries from 7am to 10am on all days of the week for staff and approved vendors.

  19. Who promotes big events?
  20. Organizations that host events on Governors Island are primarily responsible for all promotion. However, The Trust assists through posting events and activities on as well as social media and press outreach.

  21. Is the goal to have wireless in redevelopment zones as well?
  22. Yes.

  23. What is the deployment time?
  24. Per the challenge schedule, the scheduled deployment period is from March 5-April 16 with the goal of going live on April 17, 2018.

  25. How are buildings around the Island used today?
  26. Governors Island is currently home to The Trust’s headquarters as well as two year-round tenants – The Urban Assembly New York Harbor School, a 500-student public high school focused on maritime, marine biology and STEM education and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Arts Center on Governors Island, a year-round artist residency space with artist studios, performance rehearsal spaces and a public gallery. During the season, over a dozen houses in Colonels Row and Nolan Park serve as the home for the Island’s art and culture program which offers free space to organizations that produce programming that is free and open to the public.

  27. Please provide the current annual visitor count and peak day numbers?
  28. During the six month 2017 public access season, nearly 800,000 visitors came to Governors Island. Some of the busiest days included the Fourth of July (with 20,497 visitors to the Island), City of Water Day on July 15 (15,845 visitors) and the Jazz Age Lawn Party on June 10-11 and August 26-27 (an average of 11,383 visitors per day over the course of the four-day festival). On weekends during the 2017 season, an average of 25,000 visitors came to Governors Island, with an average of 2,500 visiting on weekdays.

  29. Will there be a contribution towards ongoing maintenance, electric or broadband for the wi-fi network?
  30. This will be determined based on the design solution and contract agreement with The Trust.

  31. Can responses be submitted confidentially or are they open to the public?
  32. The Trust is subject to the Freedom of Information Law. Individuals or firms that submit proposals to The Trust may request that The Trust exempt all or part of such a proposal from public disclosure on the grounds that the proposal contains trade secrets, proprietary information or information that would cause substantial injury to the competitive position of the individual or firm, if disclosed.

  33. Is there a preference for free solutions or commercial?
  34. The winning proposal will be selected based on the core requirements detailed in the Evaluation Criteria section of the Challenge, including speed of deployment, performance of network architecture and resiliency. The Selection Committee will consider whether solutions are free for the public or commercial, but the committee will ultimately select the proposal that best meets the Evaluation Criteria.

  35. Is the challenge limited to wi-fi or can other wireless technology be deployed?
  36. The challenge is limited to wi-fi.

  37. Will it be possible for the winner to monetize the final product, for instance, by advertising through the wi-fi or other means?
  38. Yes, as noted in the Challenge description.

  39. Is the winner expected to provide wi-fi in NPS-owned areas? Is it possible to mount equipment in NPS-owned areas?
  40. The Trust’s preference is for wi-fi to cover NPS-owned areas through a perimeter installation, not directly on NPS property.

  41. Will a phased in approach be acceptable based on an agreed upon schedule to completely cover the Island?
  42. No, the preliminary winner of the Governors Island Challenge is expected to achieve full-scale deployment by April 2018. If the preliminary winner cannot meet specified deadlines, the $25,000 award will be forfeited in its entirety, and The Trust reserves the right to negotiate a contract with another finalist or select a different vendor.

  43. Can policies be enforced including rate (speed) limiting, content filtering, etc.?
  44. Yes, respondents may choose to enforce policies such as rate limiting and content filtering.

  45. Will a full list of interested providers be made public to promote partnership and teams?
  46. Yes, a list of company names will be made available to Round II applicants.

  47. Is there an outline of the expected coverage area?
  48. While The Trust controls 150 acres of the Island, the expected coverage area is the entire 172 acres of Governors Island. The Governors Island National Monument, which consists of 22 acres controlled by the National Parks Service, will not permit equipment installation on its grounds, but proposals should cover that area. Additionally, solutions should provide coverage within buildings on the Island, at the Battery Maritime Building waiting room in Manhattan (10 South Street, Slip 7), and on The Trust’s ferry, the Coursen, which services the Island.

  49. Do you want to connect any moving assets or just provide fixed wi-fi?
  50. Up to three finalists will be chosen from the applications in Round II based on, but not limited to, wireless access covering the whole Island, at the ferry terminal, on ferries, and in buildings on the island.

  51. What are your future plans for the undeveloped spaces?
  52. Governors Island’s transformation into a year-round destination for creativity, learning and experimentation is well underway. The Trust is actively marketing adaptive reuse opportunities within its historic district for commercial, non-profit, hospitality and educational tenants. 33 acres of development parcels will become available for new construction of cultural, educational and commercial facilities in the coming years.

  53. What is the next round's evaluation based on (cost, flexibility of solutions, etc.)?

    Round II Criteria:
    • Approach to providing Island-wide Wi-Fi
    • Use of existing assets
    • Installation of additional infrastructure
    • Description of readiness and estimated time for construction
    • Network architecture, including wireless technologies and backhaul solution
    • Wi-Fi service levels
    • Proposed commercial terms
    • Any other aspects that may be relevant

  54. Who will run the service on daily basis? The Trust or the chosen party for the project?
  55. The chosen party will run the service.

  56. Will the wi-fi be provided to the public for free or as a paid service?
  57. The Selection Committee will consider whether solutions are free or paid, but the committee will ultimately select the proposal that best meets the Evaluation Criteria.

  58. Do you envision this as managed service that will require a portal in place?
  59. The Challenge envisions high quality broadband service available everywhere on Governors Island with no predisposition to the delivery of the service. 

    If a provider feels that a managed solution which requires a portal with an email address, Linkedin, Facebook, etc. account sign is the best solution, then they should be able to provide sufficient information supporting that decision.

  60. Can the presentation from the pre-tour presentation be sent to interested parties?
  61. Yes, the presentation will be distributed to the site visit attendees.

  62. Please provide details on how to access the information.
  63. Further instructions for accessing the Data Room will be provided for participants who advance to Round II of the Challenge.

  64. As a monetization method, is advertising allowed on the Island?
  65. The Trust is open to discussing proposals that involve advertising.

  66. If advertising is allowed, what additional physical assets could be made available to advertising to recoup costs? Buildings? Ferries? The Terminal? 
  67. The Trust is open to discussing advertising on physical assets with the Challenge winner.

  68. Would we be permitted to place physical wi-fi kiosks on the Island? Are there any current plans to place digital kiosks on the island?

Electric/Light Poles

  1. Is it possible to install radios on light poles? Is there access to electricity through the light poles? Is it possible to view a detailed map of light pole locations?
  2. Respondents can mount radios and other equipment on or within light poles but cannot connect to electricity through the light poles. Light pole specifications and a map of light poles will be available through the Data Room for respondents who advance to Round II of the Challenge.

  3. Are the lights controlled by sensor or a timer? What is the voltage and design of the light pole structures, cabling, conduits, etc.?  Are there light sensors or 24x7 power available on light poles?
  4. All light poles are activated by a photocell at the load centers. Light pole specifications will be available through the Data Room for respondents who advance to Round II.

  5. Is it possible to mount equipment on the sides of lamp posts, for instance, by strapping equipment to the side of a post? Can new poles be erected? Can temporary poles be erected to support events in the open park areas?
  6. Generally, it is possible to mount equipment on existing light poles or to install new or temporary poles. In the Historic District mounting locations are subject to approval by the Landmarks Preservation Commission. For new light poles, equipment design must meet acceptable aesthetic and structural standards. The Trust will work with teams to obtain the necessary approvals.

  7. Who owns the tall tower/pole? Can it be used for radio installation? How tall is it?
  8. The tall tower is owned by the U.S. Coast Guard. It may be possible for respondents to mount radios on the tower, with Coast Guard approval. The Trust will work with teams to obtain the necessary approvals. The tower is approximately 60’ to 75’ in height.

  9. Are there any electric outlets available at The Hills?

  10. Electrical outlets are mounted to every other light pole at the base of The Hills. However, respondents should plan to draw electricity from load centers, not light poles.

  11. Will it be possible to incorporate solar power and battery backup?
  12. Yes, it is possible to utilize solar power and battery backup. The Trust encourages the use of sustainable solutions in the design of the system.

  13. Are there light poles along the promenade on the western side of the Island?
  14. No.

  15. Is the pole/tower at Picnic Point coming down?
  16. Yes.

  17. Can the provider get access to electric grid?
  18. Yes, the selected provider can get access to the electric grid but only for the purpose of powering equipment.

  19. Who owns the light poles and pays the utility bill?  Does Governor’s Island control them?
  20. The Trust for Governors Island owns the light poles and pays the utility bills.

  21. Is there a map showing all active or planned electrical connections?
  22. A map will be available in the Data Room for respondents who advance to Round II.

  23. What is the size of the conduits feeding the light poles?
  24. Information on the conduits will be available in the Data Room for respondents who advance to Round II.

  25. Is it possible to pull fiber through the light pole conduits?
  26. It is possible to pull fiber through the light pole conduits, but the process must be field tested before implementation.


  1. Are the historic buildings landmarked? Are there restrictions on the inside and outside of landmarked buildings?
  2. Governors Island contains five individual landmarks: the Commanding Officers Quarters (Building 1), the Governor’s House (Building 2), the Block House (Building 9), Fort Jay and Castle Williams. In addition, the northern portion of Governors Island (north of Division Road) has been designated the Governors Island Historic District. Certain exterior alterations that are visible to the public are subject to review by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. Please refer to this map to see the aforementioned building numbers:

  3. Which buildings can respondents use to connect to electricity and mount equipment?
  4. The Trust will work with respondents to explore connecting to buildings for electricity on a case by case basis. Respondents may assume that any real estate on Governors Island may be used for wi-fi equipment, with the following exceptions:
    • National monument property (Fort Jay and Castle Williams), except with permission of the National Parks Service;
    • The Coast Guard signal tower located behind 400 Clayton Road (Liggett Hall), except with permission of the Coast Guard;
    • The Hugh L. Carey Tunnel ventilation building, except with permission of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority;
    • 111, 112 and 114 Andes Road except with permission of the lessee, QC Terme NY LLC;
    • 550 Wheeler Ave and 134 Carder Road, except with the permission of the lessee, the New York City School Construction Authority.

  5. Can wireless equipment be mounted on the roofs of buildings?
  6. Yes. Certain exterior alterations are subject to review by the New York City Landmark Preservation Commission Respondents are encouraged to specify in their proposals exactly where they plan to mount equipment.

  7. Will any antennas require Landmark or Public Design Commission Approval, and will Governors Island assist with efforts for approval?
  8. Depending on the placement of the antennas, Landmarks Preservation Commission approval may be required. The Trust will assist with efforts for approvals.

  9. Which buildings will be renovated?
  10. The Trust is actively seeking proposals for adaptive reuse of the historic buildings located on Governors Island. The New York Harbor School currently occupies the historic buildings at 550 Wheeler Ave and 134 Carder Road. The Trust’s offices are located at 108 Andes Road. Three adaptive reuse projects have been announced to date:
    • Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Arts Center at Governors Island at 110 Andes Road
    • QCTerme’s day spa at 111-114 Andes Road
    • Spaceworks’ studio and performance space at 301 Kimmel Road

  11. Are irrigation stations on parade ground marked on the map?
  12. This information will be provided in the Data Room for respondents who advance to Round II.

  13. Does The Trust or NPS own the roads on the Island? Is it possible to mount equipment on roads?
  14. The Trust owns the roads. It is possible to embed equipment in the roads.

  15. Can proposers put splice boxes inside buildings? Or around the grounds?
  16. Splice boxes can be placed outside buildings and on the grounds.

Existing Communciations Infrastructure

  1. What is the existing communications infrastructure in the Island? 
  2. Verizon has a fiber cable through the Battery Tunnel from Manhattan to Building 140 on Governors Island. The infrastructure is utilized for the Harbor School, Trust for Governors Island offices and the National Park Service offices.

  3. What kind of connectivity is available today?
  4. Fiber conduits exist to Manhattan. However, nothing is known about the condition nor the capacity of the conduits and if the responder wants to use the fiber, they would be solely responsible for negotiating acceptable terms.

  5. What kind of backhaul do you have existing? Should proving backhaul be part of the proposal?
  6. There is no wired backhaul. Providing a wired or wireless backhaul should be part of the proposal if part of the design scheme.

  7. Who is the current wi-fi provider? What broadband/cable/fiber providers are currently servicing Governors Island? Is fiber located anywhere on the island? If so, who owns it? 
  8. There is no current public wi-fi provider.

  9. Has anyone spoke to Verizon about ordering commercial grade fiber that the wi-fi provider could connect to?
  10. The Trust is working with Verizon to install fiber optic cable throughout Governors Island sometime in Spring of 2018 for tenancy.

  11. Will The Trust work with the Challenge winner on any future conduit installations for expanded coverage?
  12. The Trust will coordinate with the winner for any further public wi-fi coverage if the awardee executes a contract for service with The Trust.

  13. Is the trenching around the island for conduits?
  14. There is no existing trenching around the Island for conduits. Teams may consider microtrenching as part of their design solution.

  15. How does the Harbor School get internet?
  16. The Harbor School uses Verizon fiber housed in Building 140.

  17. Is there any cellular hardware on the Island? Is there any cellular presence on the Island?
  18. No to both.

  19. Have wireless providers asked to mount cellular towers?
  20. Yes.

  21. Can we run fiber in conduit in the tunnel?
  22. Yes, The Trust has an agreement with the TBTA to run fiber through existing conduit in the Battery Tunnel. TBTA approval is required.

  23. Is it possible to mount equipment on top of Battery Tunnel tower?
  24. The Trust is willing to explore obtaining permission if this is part of a design solution.

  25. Is there a communications center in the Island?
  26. No.

  27. How do ATMs on the Island work? Through dial up?
  28. ATMs on the Island operate through cell phone signals.

Challenge FAQs

  1. Who can participate?
  2. To be eligible to compete in the Governors Island Connectivity Challenge, a team must be an Eligible Entity. Employees of the City of New York, Trust for Governors Island, and the judges or any of their respective affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising agencies, or any other company or individual involved with the design, production execution or distribution of the Challenge and their immediate family (spouse, parents and step-parents, sibling and step-siblings, and children and step-children) and household members (people who share the same residence at least three (3) months out of the year) of each such employee are not eligible to participate and receive award of a stipend or agreement with TGI or any award. The Challenge is subject to all applicable United States federal, state and local laws and regulations. Participation constitutes participant’s full and unconditional agreement to these Official Rules and Sponsors’ decisions, which are final and binding in all matters related to the Challenge. Award of a stipend is contingent upon fulfilling all requirements set forth herein. Further, current employees or board members of TGI or employees of the Mayor’s Office of the CTO may not participate nor have any financial interest in any participating team.

    Each team must designate a Team Leader. The Team Leader will be the sole point of contact between the team and the Challenge administrators.

    TGI reserves the right to limit, or restrict upon notice, participation in the Governors Island Connectivity Challenge to any person or entity at any time for any reason. Teams may withdraw as set forth in the guidelines provided in the Challenge Rules.

  3. How do I apply?
  4. You can apply through the Challenge application page, where you will be required to submit a short statement outlining details about your organization (250 words or less), relevant experience (250 words or less), why you are interested in the Governors Island Challenge (250 words or less), and what your proposed solution is (250 words or less). In order to apply to the Governors Island Challenge, you must agree to the Challenge terms and conditions.

  5. What are the next steps after submitting the application?
  6. Once your application is submitted, Governors Island will provide additional data and information, including Island maps and detailed inventories of available assets. The Governors Island Challenge will then consist of two other rounds.

    Round II
    • Approach to providing Island-wide Wi-Fi
    • Use of existing assets
    • Installation of additional infrastructure
    • Description of readiness and estimated time for construction
    • Network architecture, including wireless technologies and backhaul solution
    • Wi-Fi service levels
    • Proposed commercial terms
    • Any other aspects that may be relevant

    Round III
    Finalist teams will submit a detailed technical proposal and commercial terms. Each team will then have the opportunity to conduct field testing of their solution on the island. One preliminary winner will be chosen based on their test performance and proposal, and given a chance to negotiate a contract with TGI for full-scale deployment by April 2018. If the preliminary winner cannot agree on a contract with TGI, then TGI reserves the right to negotiate a contract with another finalist or select a different vendor.

    Additional guidelines on the requirements of the detailed proposal will be shared with finalists.

  7. Can I submit more than one proposal?
  8. No, you should only submit one proposal and teams are restricted to one application.

  9. What experience is needed?
  10. Applicants are not required to have experience working with the public sector. Teams can propose a novel solution that has not been tested before, as long as the solution is reliable and ready by April 2018.

  11. What will be the judging criteria?
  12. Applicant’s solutions will be judged on the following criteria:

    Core requirements (must meet all for winner eligibility):
    • Able to be ready by April 2018
    • Able to cover the required area
    • Able to connect the required number of people

    Low cost hardware (breakthrough category)
    • Low initial cost of network hardware
    • Low maintenance or replacement cost of network hardware
    • Useful life of at least five years

    Speed of deployment (breakthrough category)
    • Ease of installation and impact on TGI operations

    Performance of network architecture (breakthrough category)
    • Bandwidth
    • Capable of connecting via multiple bands or technologies, e.g., Wi-Fi, LTE
    • Ability of network architecture to support future advances in speed or performance without further hardware replacement
    • Ability of network architecture to support next generation smart city applications

    • Provides service to the Island other than through the tunnel conduits
    • Additional climate change resiliency elements

    • Applicability of technology to other areas in NYC and the world
    • Proposals for IoT and Smart City network applications

    Extended access: Wireless access at ferry terminal, on ferries, and in buildings on the Island

  13. Does the award come with any restriction or obligations?
  14. How many people visit Governors Island daily?
  15. On average, 12,000 people visit Governors Island on a given weekend day, with 2,000 visiting each weekday during the summer of 2017. Many large-scale events take place in a variety of locations across the Island, and range from music festivals to sports tournaments to arts and culture events. During special events, an additional 10,000 people are often concentrated in one area. Proposals must address the ability to support the additional crowds on the Island for special events.

  16. How do I access Governors Island data?
  17. Once your application is submitted, Governors Island will provide additional data and information, including Island maps and detailed inventories of available assets.

  18. What is the required coverage area?
  19. The Governors Island wireless network will ultimately cover the entire IslandThe total coverage area is approximately 150 acres. The portion of the park operated by the National Park Service will not permit installation of new equipment, but this area should still have coverage. Therefore, this area must be serviced by access points located outside or above the area. Solutions should also provide coverage within buildings on the Island, at the Battery Maritime Building waiting room in Manhattan (10 South Street, Slip 7), and on the TGI-owned ferry servicing the Island.