The New York City mayorship is by nature a lightning rod position. For one man to govern a vibrant and diverse city of nearly eight million, there is bound to be some dissent. In my lifetime, the city been stewarded by Ed Koch (59th St. Bridge guy!), David Dinkins (gutless panderer!), Rudy Giuliani (bigoted militant!) and our current leader, Mike Bloomberg (soda-hater!). Though an independent, Bloomberg and his legislation – particularly regarding the regulation of cigarettes and sugary drinks – has elicited some very pointed opinions from both sides of the aisle. One initiative all should admire, however, is his attempts to “digitize” the city.
In his efforts to both upgrade the city’s digital infrastructure and to attract major tech companies and startups to “Silicon Alley,” Mayor Bloomberg has outlined a variety of plans. Mashable has a great summary:
“1. ConnectNYC: Small and medium-sized companies in buildings with poor broadband wiring will compete with one another to win free “fast-track wiring” from the City. The competitions will be based on need — those businesses that can prove they need faster, more reliable broadband connectivity in order to keep growing will get fast-tracked. The City is ironing out a partnership with Time Warner Cable to do the actual wiring.
2. WiredNYC: A building certification program that will grade and record broadband infrastructure in more than 300 office buildings over the next two years, which the city believes will make the commercial real estate market more transparent. You can think of it as the city’s restaurant health grading system for high-speed enterprise broadband.
3. NYC Broadband Connect Map: The City will collect data from various sources to develop a “crowd-sourced, dynamic map” that will show the availability and speed of broadband throughout the five boroughs. The idea? To clearly show Internet providers where the demand for better services exists.
4. Broadband Express: The City will reduce “regulatory hurdles” (read: bureaucratic red tape) to make life easier for Internet Service Providers seeking permits for street operations and other expansion projects. The City believes the program could “facilitate nearly 25,000 broadband-related permits” over the next two years.
5. CitizenConnect: A public-private partnership to spur mobile app developers to create new software to help New Yorkers access job listings and other “worker support programs” by setting up development competitions. Many of those services are already available online, but the City believes that mobile apps will increase their use as mobile devices have “much higher penetration” in New York City than other Internet-capable devices, such as computers at public libraries.”
Mashable also put together an infographic highlighting the growth of the aforementioned “Silicon Alley:”