2012-10-26 / Top Stories

Mayor:Wire Businesses Throughout City

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has announced the launch of ConnectNYC, an innovative City-sponsored competition to encourage growing commercial and industrial businesses in New York City to apply for free fiber cable wiring and to ensure the City continues to establish itself as a leader in connectivity and innovation. The competition – one of a suite of initiatives originally announced by Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert K. Steel in June – is designed to assist small or medium-sized businesses in unwired or under-wired buildings by providing an opportunity for free, fast-track wiring. Beginning today, companies can apply through a competitive process being led by the City’s Economic Development Corporation.

Awards will be given to companies based on a set of evaluation criteria, including how additional connectivity will help them grow their businesses, the potential to improve broadband infrastructure in underserved areas, and the business’ proximity to other applicants. Once the winning businesses are selected, Time Warner Cable Business Class and Cablevision, which have partnered with the City on this initiative, will commence free fiber build-out, with over 100 businesses expected to be fiber wired in the first year of the program. By the end of the second year of the program the total number of businesses is expected to reach 240. The application process for ConnectNYC officially begins today and will be open through November 27. Winning companies are expected to be announced in early 2013.

“In today’s world, broadband is a vital piece of infrastructure, and we need to make sure New York City’s wiring is competitive with other cities,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Expanding broadband across the city is part of our strategy to make New York City a great place to do business and create jobs.”

“In the 21st century and beyond, a robust broadband infrastructure will be critical to the success of businesses across all sectors of our City’s economy,” said Deputy Mayor Steel. “This competition is an important first step in achieving our goals for increased connectivity, providing hundreds of small and medium-sized businesses with free fiber wiring that will allow them to grow and thrive.”

“In recent years, New York City has emerged as a global hub of technology and innovation,” said New York City Economic Development Corporation President Seth W. Pinsky. “The launch of the ConnectNYC competition is the next important step in our efforts to build upon this momentum, expanding broadband connectivity across the City and ensuring that our broadband infrastructure meets the needs of our businesses throughout the 21st Century.”

“Getting more New York City businesses access to high-speed broadband will have a major impact on their ability to be competitive and ultimately succeed in today’s marketplace,” said City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn. “Every business deserves a level playing field so I’m especially excited that at least a quarter of the overall award value will be granted to businesses located in Industrial Business Zones, areas currently underserved by high- speed broadband. I thank Mayor Bloomberg and Deputy Mayor Steel for working with the City Council to address the needs of those most affected by these issues and taking even more concrete steps toward our goal of making New York City the tech capital of the world.”

“ConnectNYC has the potential to expand the availability of high speed internet services to communities which have traditionally had limited access to such technology,” said Council Member Fernando Cabrera, Chair of the Council Committee on Technology.

“ConnectNYC is yet another example of New York’s commitment to expand broadband infrastructure, help local businesses, and keep our city at the forefront of the world’s technology sector,” said Council Member Gale A. Brewer. “We learned that fast, free and low cost fiber does not exist in many of the commercial and manufacturing areas when the City Council with the Broadband Advisory Committee held hearings on broadband connectivity in all five boroughs. I applaud the Mayor for this initiative, and thank Time Warner and Cablevision for their investment in the city’s future.”

ConnectNYC is being led by the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and ChallengePost, a New York City startup that enables competitive public problem-solving. The goal of the competition is to capitalize on New York City’s existing advantages in connectivity and innovation, while also addressing long-term challenges facing the City and the nation in this area. Businesses with fewer than 100 employees in all five boroughs and across all industries are eligible to apply on www.NYC.gov or by calling 311.

Applications can be submitted by individual businesses only, and will be evaluated on proximity to areas currently underserved by broadband infrastructure; proximity to other applying businesses in order to encourage clustering and efficiency in broadband installation; and the anticipated impact of having broadband access on business operations. As part of the application process, applicants must obtain a signed letter of consent from their landlord at the time of submission. Once selections have been made, businesses chosen to participate will be required to sign a oneyear service contract with a participating Internet Service Provider at negotiated market rates prior to being eligible to receive fiber buildout. The partnering Internet Service Providers - Time Warner Cable Business Class and Cablevision - will then begin fiber wiring over 100 winning businesses, continuing on their previous commitments to deploy fiber optics to areas across New York City as part of their recent cable television franchise renewals.

The value of the total fiber wiring being provided by Time Warner Cable Business Class and Cablevision during the full two year program will equal $12 million and will reach approximately 240 businesses. In order to ensure the competition serves busi- nesses across all sectors, a minimum of 25% of the overall award value will be granted to businesses located in Industrial Business Zones.

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