For Immediate Release: October 19, 2023
Contact: Giulia Balentinefirstname.lastname@example.org|914-355-6129
Over 24% of immigrant households across New York lack access to broadband services needed to thrive
LinkNYC will build on the City's 'We Love Immigrant New York' campaign by promoting programs and services for the newest New Yorkers
New York, New York – Today, the NYC Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA), LinkNYC, and the NYC Office of Technology and Innovation (OTI) hosted an immigrant media roundtable at City Hall to address digital inequity for immigrant New Yorkers. Together, they highlighted their collective work with community-based organizations to bridge New York's digital divide for immigrant communities, including a new partnership to advertise resources for the newest New Yorkers on thousands of LinkNYC kiosks across the city. The roundtable is part of MOIA's monthly effort to share information on available aid for immigrants with the media.
Today, more than one million households across New York lack access to broadband, with the disparity most prevalent in low-income and minority communities. In fact, 24% percent of immigrant households in the state do not have internet access. In New York City, there are over 700,000 homes without broadband of any type. In response to this pervasive digital divide, LinkNYC kiosks, new Link5G smart poles, and LinkNYC's Gigabit Centers serve as critical hubs of connectivity across the five boroughs, helping immigrant New Yorkers get online, access City and social services, connect with family members, and more.
"New York City is focused on making sure we meet the unique needs of our immigrant residents; addressing the digital divide's impact on their communities is a key part of that effort," said NYC Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs Commissioner Manuel Castro. "LinkNYC is an invaluable partner in providing free Wi-Fi connectivity and expanding 5G access to those who need it most. We look forward to expanding our work with LinkNYC to connect immigrant New Yorkers with programs that protect their health and well-being, strengthen their financial security, provide educational resources, and much more."
"Too many New Yorkers without a reliable broadband connection struggle to connect with the resources they need to thrive. That's why we believe internet access is a right — not a luxury — and why we are working to provide free Wi-Fi and expand 5G service for all New Yorkers across the five boroughs," said Nick Colvin, CEO of LinkNYC. "Internet connectivity is both a lifeline and the key to opportunity for our newest neighbors. It's why we're promoting digital equity in our city's most marginalized neighborhoods by installing 90 percent of Link5G smart poles in the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island, and above 96th Street in Manhattan. We are excited to partner with MOIA and offer everyone who calls New York home with access to the reliable, high-speed internet service they deserve."
Speakers at the City Hall roundtable included MOIA Commissioner Manuel Castro, LinkNYC Chief Administrative Officer Margaux Knee, NYC OTI's Executive Director of Franchise Administration Brett Sikoff, NYC Care Executive Director Dr. Jonathan Jiménez of NYC Health + Hospitals, and the Executive Director of immigrant services non-profit La Colmena, Yesenia Mata. Each speaker answered questions on City and community services for immigrant New Yorkers and discussed how New York City is working to foster digital equity for immigrants.
In addition, LinkNYC announced they will be building on the 'We Love Immigrant New York' campaign, which the City launched earlier this year. Through a new partnership, LinkNYC will promote MOIA's We Speak NYC program, NYC Health + Hospitals' NYC Care program, services offered by La Colmena and LinkNYC's Staten Island Gigabit Center, and more. Information about these resources for immigrant New Yorkers will be featured on more than 2,100 LinkNYC kiosks across the City.
"Reliable, high-speed internet access is a necessity for our immigrant families and workers to achieve a better life in New York City," said New York City Chief Technology Officer Matthew Fraser. "That's why this administration is making significant investments – like Link5G – to expand connectivity across the five boroughs so that all New Yorkers, particularly our historically underserved immigrant communities, have equitable digital access regardless of their zip code. I am grateful to Mayor Adams for his tireless commitment to bridging the digital divide, and thank our partners with the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs, LinkNYC, NYC Health + Hospitals, and La Colmena for all they do to help our immigrant families and workers stay connected."
"NYC Care provides comprehensive and low or no-cost healthcare services for over 100,000 New Yorkers, but we know there remain New Yorkers — many of them immigrants — who still lack access to primary care, mental health services, sexual and reproductive healthcare, and more," said NYC Care Executive Director Dr. Jonathan Jiménez. "The LinkNYC program is an important outreach tool for us to leverage as we continue our efforts to ensure every New Yorker knows they have a right to healthcare through NYC Care."
"We are proud to represent and serve all immigrant New Yorkers, whose communities are among the most underserved in our city. Together, we are fostering digital equity and bringing social, educational, and economic resources to communities that need them the most," said La Colmena Executive Director Yesenia Mata. "This is why we are excited to continue working hand-in-hand with LinkNYC, the NYC Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs, and all other City agencies to ensure that no immigrant New Yorker is left behind."
The Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA) was established pursuant to the New York City Charter to promote the well-being of immigrant communities. To achieve this, MOIA serves as a bridge between city government and immigrant communities; advises and assists in developing and implementing policies designed to assist immigrants and speakers of languages; and supports and enhances the ability of city agencies and offices to serve these immigrant populations. MOIA's work cuts across a broad range of issues citywide and MOIA works closely with cities around the country and the world to promote innovations in immigrant access to services. To learn more, visit www.nyc.gov/site/immigrants/
LinkNYC is the world's largest and fastest free public Wi-Fi network. Each Link kiosk provides free superfast Wi-Fi, phone calls, device charging, access to social services, and displays content such as real-time weather, transit info, public art, and local information. The city-wide network has more than 14 million Wi-Fi users and has connected more than 30 million free phone calls. All of LinkNYC's services are completely free to users and taxpayers, provided by CityBridge, a partnership led by Intersection and Boldyn Networks. The second generation offering will deploy thousands of new kiosks, called Link5G, enabled with 5G wireless technology across the city. For more information about LinkNYC or to find a Link near you, visit www.link.nyc.
The Office of Technology and Innovation (OTI) is the leading voice of technology in the City of New York. Technology underpins everything the City does, from policing to benefits screening, and with the combined power of technology expertise across the City, OTI is agile, efficient, and laser-focused on revolutionizing technology and government with an aim at increasing the quality of service for all New Yorkers. We "Get Stuff Done" by streamlining every facet of the City's technology management into a single cohesive work stream with one common purpose: to enhance the lives of New Yorkers through technology.
NYC Health + Hospitals is the largest municipal health care system in the nation serving more than a million New Yorkers annually in more than 70 patient care locations across the city's five boroughs. A robust network of outpatient, neighborhood-based primary and specialty care centers anchors care coordination with the system's trauma centers, nursing homes, post-acute care centers, home care agency, and MetroPlus health plan—all supported by 11 essential hospitals. Its diverse workforce of more than 43,000 employees is uniquely focused on empowering New Yorkers, without exception, to live the healthiest life possible. For more information, visit www.nychealthandhospitals.org and stay connected on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.
La Colmena is a community-based organization founded in 2014, working to empower day laborers, domestic workers, and other low-wage immigrant workers in Staten Island through organizing, education, culture, and economic development. The organization is committed to providing the tools they need to become leaders who can speak and advocate for themselves and their communities. La Colmena serves a varied population of individuals and families from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and Peru, among other places. Their members speak a range of indigenous languages and have different levels of literacy.