Groups Partner With State to Expand High-Speed Internet Access to Affordable Housing

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NEW YORK NOW – As New York seeks to expand high-speed internet access to underserved areas, a statewide nonprofit launched an initiative in partnership with the state Tuesday to target broadband infrastructure in affordable housing units.

The Affordable Housing Broadband Initiative, a collaboration between two groups, will look at how the state can best provide high-speed internet to those living in affordable housing.

BRET JASPERS / WSKG NEWS FILE PHOTO

The program will be led by House New York, an affiliate of the New York State Association for Affordable Housing and the Broadband Equity Partnership, a consultancy team aimed at helping government and other organizations achieve digital equity.

“We need to be thinking creatively about the best way to ensure the long-term success of every resident,” said Jolie Milstein, president of NYSAFAH. “This initiative is a step in that direction as it will help create affordable connected homes that equip residents with the tools necessary to thrive in the modern world.”

The initiative will work with New York State Homes and Community Renewal, the state’s housing agency, to streamline the program.

It’s expected to pull together data on the state’s solutions for expanding high-speed internet in subsidized affordable housing, including a look at different types of buildings and what it would cost to close service gaps.

The initiative then plans to use that data to guide the state’s plans for retrofitting affordable housing developments to infrastructure for broadband.

That data, and the plans that come along with it, will then be used to create a statewide program aimed at making it easier for the state to plan and budget for expanding high-speed internet access into affordable housing.

“At HCR, we are bridging the digital divide for low-income households by prioritizing affordable housing developments with free or low-cost broadband and NYSAFAH has been an integral partner in these efforts,” said HCR Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas.

“We look forward to continuing to work together to make quality internet service available to everyone.”

There is no timeline for the project, but the initiative is expected to produce a report for the state when it’s concluded, according to organizers.