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De Blasio Advisor: Let’s Make a Gigabit Hub

Monday, May 19, 2014

Mayor Bill de Blasio is outlining his vision for a city where all citizens have fast and reliable digital connections. In an address to the tech community on Monday to kick off Internet Week, the mayor said that a vibrant democracy depends on universal, affordable broadband access.

Making that happen is the job of Counsel to the Mayor Maya Wiley.

“One of the things that the mayor did not say, but that we're exploring, is whether we can create a gigabit innovation center. Which we don't currently have,” Wiley said.

Wiley described a building that rents out space to startups, similar to the tech incubators that have proliferated in recent years. “But also potentially a place that the public might be able to access gigabit speeds,” Wiley added.

Data that moves at a gigabit could be around 30 times faster than current average download speeds in New York.

There's no formal proposal, and no word on where the hub would be located. Wiley said it's the kind of idea the Mayor wants to set into motion.

In a few weeks time, Wiley said, City Hall will likely announce a broadband task force, including tech entrepreneurs, academics, and others, to study new ways to connect the city.

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