New York has received $20 million in federal stimulus money intended to expand residents' access to the Internet. The money will go to programs that aim to increase access to affordableservice in underserved communities and among low-income public school students.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg called the funding — targeted at the city's NYC Connected Communities and NYC Connected Foundations — a "major advance in our efforts to bridge the digital divide for low-income New Yorkers." NYC Connected Communities will receive $14 million, which will be used to expand the availability of public computer centers in high poverty areas, Bloomberg said in a statement. "Investing in libraries, public, senior centers and community centers across the five boroughs, the program will serve 40,000 new users weekly, provide 1,047 new work stations, and offer an array of new resources for digital literacy, employment support, and other critical services," Bloomberg said.
NYC Connected Foundations will receive $6 million that will provide over-age, under-credited students at 43 of the city's public high schools with access to free computers, broadband subsidies and digital literacy training. Connected Foundations also includes a credit-bearing course aimed at facilitating sustainable adoption of broadband, and students who take the course will be able to apply the knowledge to post-secondary careers, Bloomberg said.
"Today's awards complement the $22 million award New York City received for the NYC Connected Learning initiative, which will help serve more than 18,000 low-income sixth grade students and 40,000 public school household members by providing free computers, discounted broadband service, high-quality digital educational resources, and digital literacy training to boost educational outcomes over three academic years," Bloomberg said.
The New York grants were among 35 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grants announced by U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke on Monday. Comprising $482.4 million, the grants are intended to "help bridge the technological divide, boost economic growth, create jobs, and improve education and healthcare across the country," according to Locke's office. "These projects will have a real, lasting impact on communities across the country," Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information and NTIA Administrator Lawrence Strickling said in a statement. "We are investing in 'middle mile' networks that bring high-speed Internet access to communities and connect key anchor institutions, such as schools, libraries and hospitals. We are also investing in projects to improve access and spur Internet usage and adoption. This allows us to get the most bang for every grant dollar and award projects that will address communities' broadband problems while creating jobs and facilitating sustainable economic growth."
Read the entire list of grant recipients from Locke's office.