By Scott Etkin
Internet access is essential to everyday life, but for many people it’s a significant expense. That’s why last September the New York City Office of Technology launched Big Apple Connect, a program that provides access to free internet and basic cable television to New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) residents.
So far, 75% of eligible residents have signed up for the service, totalling more than 100,000 households.
Nearly all developments on the Upper West Side have access to the program and a representative from the Office of Technology confirmed that Frederick Douglass I & II and 830 Amsterdam (West 100th-104th, Columbus & Amsterdam) have registration rates of 78%, 82%, and 77%, respectively.
A notable exception on the UWS is DeHostos Houses (201 West 93rd Street), which has 219 apartments. New York City is “currently evaluating additional developments to include in the program,” according to a recent announcement and the representative could not provide specifics on any future plans.
The service is available at 202 of the 335 NYCHA developments across New York City. In Manhattan, the development with the highest enrollment is the Grant Houses (84% registration rate), located in the northern part of Morningside Heights.
The free bundle that’s offered includes “in-home, high-speed internet connection, including a modem and router; basic cable TV service, including a cable box and remote control; and common area Wi-Fi hotspots, selected in consultation with NYCHA.”
Altice (Optimum) and Charter (Spectrum), the two service providers, are under contract through the summer of 2025.
More information on how to register for the program is available at the link.