New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

Matt Troutman

Upper East Side Patch Free Internet For Every NYC Apartment, New Bill Proposes by Matt Troutman

Free Internet For Every NYC Apartment, New Bill Proposes

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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Upper East Side Patch NYC 3-K Will Go Free Citywide In September, De Blasio Says by Matt Troutman

NYC 3-K Will Go Free Citywide In September, De Blasio Says

A cavalcade of City Council members who've long pushed for universal 3-K joined de Blasio and Porter. Council Member Ben Kallos noted he has a 3-year-old daughter himself and said his family will be applying for the program.

"Mayor de Blasio, I've been asking for this for so many years, what will we talk about?" Kallos said.

De Blasio said the ultimate goal for the program is about 60,000 slots for children.

 

Upper East Side Patch Advocates, Pols Back Essential Workers' 'Bill Of Rights' by Matt Troutman

Advocates, Pols Back Essential Workers' 'Bill Of Rights'

Lander alongside Council Majority Leader Laurie Cumbo and Councilman Ben Kallos co-sponsored a four-bill package which aims to provide protections for essential workers. This so-called "Essential Workers' Bill of Rights" will be the subject of Council hearings starting Wednesday.

The bills call for premiums of up to $75 a shift for essential workers for large employers, prohibiting firing without just cause, paid sick leave for gig workers and to reclassify certain types of independent contractors as employees.