One of the things that the COVID-19 Pandemic taught us is how important it is for us to have connections to people. Having access to the internet has been essential to helping people maintain relationships during the various lockdowns and quarantines that have happened since March 2020.

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That experience over the last couple of years seems to have prompted some members of the New York City Council to debate making changes to the local housing law in the 5 boroughs.

New York City Councilmember Ben Kallos introduced a bill that would require landlords in the city to provide internet service just like they would for any other utility.

Every New York City apartment comes with heat, hot water, electricity, and a phone line. It’s time to add Internet, so it is there and just works when a tenant moves in... We can finally end the digital divide and bridge the homework gap by making sure every apartment in New York City comes with Internet. You can’t get a vaccine if you can’t get online to schedule or even find an appointment, this pandemic has shown that the Internet is now a necessity.
-Ben Kallos, New York City Council Member for the 5th Council District

A recent study by the New York State Comptroller showed that more than 1 million New York residents don't have access to broadband internet service. Communities across the state, including Buffalo and Erie County, have taken steps to increase internet access for residents. This plan by New York City is by far the most aggressive of those ideas.

NYC Bill Int 2418-2021 would require all new construction or renovation projects to be wired for internet service using Cat6 gigabit ethernet, or whatever successor technology may be available at that time. Also, all existing buildings with 10 or more units would have 3 years to offer broadband internet to tenants. These costs also would be required to be free to the tenant.

You can find out more info about this bill here on the NYC Council website.

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