A new bill proposed Thursday by Council Member Ben Kallos would require all existing apartments to offer free broadband internet access within three years. Newly constructed apartments would also have to be wired for broadband under the bill.
Kallos said the bill will help close a "digital divide" among New Yorkers — 500,000 of whom don't have internet access and struggle to apply for food benefits, work remotely, do homework or book COVID-19 vaccine appointments. He said the internet should be considered a utility.
"I can't make internet a utility, only the FCC can, but I can make it required in everyone's apartment just like heat, electricity, hot water and phone service," he said.
The coronavirus pandemic put the internet's necessity into stark relief.
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