A call for partnerships to expand safe and affordable connectivity to New York City Housing Authority residents

New York City is committed to the goal of universal broadband, as described in the New York City Internet Master Plan (2020). In light of COVID-related health and safety guidance from New York City and public health officials, internet access in the home has become an even more essential service, required for safe access to health care, continuation of employment and schooling, and connections to family and friends. The Internet Master Plan includes a commitment to release a Universal Solicitation for Broadband (USB) to quickly and efficiently solicit innovative solutions from a broad range of market respondents. Building on Mayor de Blasio’s Equity Action Plan to Combat COVID-19 at the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), the City is releasing the first phase of the USB with a focus on expanding free or low-cost internet to NYCHA residents, specifically. 

The initial phase of the USB, the NYCHA Rapid Response Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI), offers a unique opportunity for internet service providers, both large and small, with plans to rapidly close the digital divide in New York City to bring new service options to public housing communities while minimizing physical contact with residents. The goal of this RFEI is to identify ready-to-deploy ideas or pilot projects that will provide residents of NYCHA communities with free or reduced-cost internet connections. These options may range from new products and pricing, new service options with discounted rates for public housing residents, free Wi-Fi solutions that residents can reach from their homes, or other innovative approaches employing established or emerging technologies. Respondents will identify which communities they are able to serve almost immediately with their solutions and which City resources, if any, would be needed to do so.

Universal Solicitation for Broadband: NYCHA