City Expands “Big Apple Connect” Program Bringing Free Internet and TV to NYCHA Developments

The expansion of the “Big Apple Connect” program brings free internet and cable TV to thousands of NYCHA residents. Image Credit: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office.

On March 23, 2023, Mayor Eric Adams announced the expansion of the “Big Apple Connect,” the nation’s largest municipal broadband program that provides free internet and basic cable TV service to NYCHA developments. The program, launched last fall, is designed to help bridge the “digital divide”; according to cable service providers, between 30 to 40 percent of NYCHA residents are not subscribed to a broadband service.

The program now serves 202 NYCHA developments citywide, or approximately 300,000 New Yorkers. With this announcement, 25 developments in Manhattan, 20 in Brooklyn, 14 in the Bronx, 5 in Queens and 3 in Staten Island were added to the program. For a full list of participating developments, click here

The free bundle includes an in-home high speed internet connection and basic cable TV service. A modem, router, cable box and remote control are provided. Common area Wi-Fi hotspots have also been installed in selected places after consultation with NYCHA. 

Altice (Optimum) and Charter (Spectrum) have entered into three-year agreements with the city to provide the services. The New York City Office of Technology and Innovation will be billed for the services as a whole. Existing customers of Spectrum or Optimum in participating developments are automatically enrolled in the program and only have to pay for additional services they choose to purchase directly. Residents will be notified by email and mail with explanations about the changes to the bill and about the program. Residents who do not currently have service can attend on-site enrollment events. 

Mayor Adams stated, “Six months ago, I promised that we would bridge the digital divide for NYCHA residents, and today I’m proud to deliver on that commitment ahead of schedule. With this expansion of ‘Big Apple Connect,’ the nation’s largest municipal broadband program to more than 200 NYCHA developments, more than 300,000 New Yorkers now have access to internet and cable TV for free. Internet isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity, and today we’re proud to connect hundreds of thousands more New Yorkers to opportunities and to the future.”

Chief Technology Officer and Office of Technology and Innovation Commissioner Matthew Fraser stated, “A better-connected New York City is a safer, more prosperous, and more equitable New York City. Big Apple Connects’ expansion ensures that thousands of students, families, jobseekers, and older adults living in public housing now have the broadband access needed to fully participate in our modern society. I am grateful to Mayor Adams for his action-oriented commitment to bridging the digital divide, and I thank Altice and Charter for their partnership on this landmark project.”

By: Veronica Rose (Veronica is the CityLaw fellow and a New York Law School graduate, Class of 2018.)

Mayor’s Office: Mayor Adams Expands ‘Big Apple Connect’ to Deliver Free Internet, TV to More Than 300,000 New Yorkers at 200 NYCHA Developments (March 23, 2023).




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