Watch CBS News

NYC Bringing Free Broadband Service To 5 Public Housing Complexes

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Free broadband Internet service is coming to public housing in New York City.

The city will invest $10 million at five New York City Housing Authority developments in Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx to provide high-speed broadband service.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and other officials announced the initiative Thursday at the Mott Haven Houses in the Bronx, 1010 WINS' Mona Rivera reported.

NYC Bringing Free Broadband Service To 5 Public Housing Complexes

U.S. Housing Secretary Julian Castro said the federal government will help the city with the initiative. Also, private companies are donating technology, including Sprint, which will make mobile Wi-Fi devices available to NYCHA households in the Bronx with school-aged children.

Twenty-two percent of New York City households do not have Internet service at home, and 36 percent of households below the poverty line lack it, according to the Center for Economic Opportunity.

"You need access to the Internet to get your homework done," Castro told reporters, including WCBS 880's Ginny Kosola. "You need access to the Internet later in life to apply for a job."

NYC Bringing Free Broadband Service To 5 Public Housing Complexes

The program will begin next year at the Queensbridge North Houses and Queensbridge South Houses in Long Island City. Networks will then be added at the Red Hook East Houses and Red Hook West Houses in Brooklyn, and Mott Haven Houses.

About 16,000 residents live in the the five impacted housing developments.

"We're going to keep going toward that goal, reaching toward that goal of a truly connected city," de Blasio said.

But Jose Rodan, who has a two-bedroom apartment at Mott Haven, is skeptical. He said he's worried about privacy and security.

"It'll be free, but there has to be a catch to that," he told Rivera.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.