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Gotham Gazette: City Council Examines Digital Divide, Bills to Improve Internet Access

The City Council’s Committee on Technology held a hearing Monday to examine disparities in internet broadband access across the city and to discuss legislation that would ameliorate that digital divide. The hearing took place just hours after Mayor Adams announced the new “Big Apple Connect” program to provide free internet and cable TV services to thousands of NYCHA residents to better connect low-income public housing residents.

Despite living in the richest city in the richest country in the world, almost 15% of New Yorkers have no access to broadband internet of any kind at home and about 24.2% do not have a desktop or laptop computer in their household, according to data from the 2019 American Community Survey by the U.S. Census. That gap in access and connectivity proved to be an even more pressing issue at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, when much of work, schooling, and access to city services was carried out online.

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