Big Apple Connect: A Free Internet Access for New York

New York now offers free Internet and TV access to residents of its public housing. The program, called “Big Apple Connect,” is very easy to apply for through two providers. If you already have a contract with one, the cost automatically drops to $0 if you check a box that you want to participate in this program and are eligible to access (street name and apartment number will suffice as “credentials”).

Not only the scope of services reads dreamlike and exemplary (among others, free Internet access with a download of up to 300 Mbps 😭). The fundamental view of the importance of digitization is also something that we would like to rub in the faces of local political decision-makers:

Matthew Fraser, the city’s technology officer, said children who did not have access to the Internet suffered a loss of learning during the pandemic.
“It’s about more than just broadband. It’s about broadband, it’s about economic development, it’s about healthcare, it’s about education. And it’s about giving people access to an important resource like water,” Fraser said.

In this country, on the other hand, children have to go to shock-ventilated, overcrowded classrooms as a consequence of the pandemic – and digital distance learning continues to be frowned upon. There is a lack of real will to act in a timely manner in the interest of young people. People are breathlessly panting after the future instead of actively helping to shape it. Building self-efficacy looks different.

So the words of a New York benefit recipient sound like something from another world:

“When my kids come home, they do their homework. They go straight to the Internet to do their homework, without any problems. They do their homework, and then they play something on Xbox,” Noel said.

Some conservatives will roll their eyes at this. But technological hacks like this can sometimes do more for the future of children than long-winded, scientific recommendations for action by a commission that may itself, along with its institutions, still have some catching up to do in terms of having arrived in the 21st century in terms of work technology.

Oh yeah, how much is all this costing the city? $30 million per year. The contracts are initially valid until summer 2025.

By the way: This is what service design that thinks from the user’s perspective looks like.


Article on September 22, 2022 appeared on piqd as a reference to the CBS article “Big Apple Connect” program bringing free internet to hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers

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