A recent article by TechCrunch reported that New York mayor De Blasio has promised to invest $70M over the next 10 years to install universal broadband wifi in New York City.
De Blasio’s office comments that “Broadband is no longer a luxury – it’s as central to education, jobs, businesses and our civic life as water and electricity. For the first time in the history of the City, broadband is in the capital budget”
This is an exciting and natural direction. I think there are few that would argue against viewing the internet as a utility in this day and age. And those that do not have access are unfairly disadvantaged.
The implications for the tech industry and data science is enormous. Not only will there be more data to collect and analysed, but many online companies will now have access to a segment of users that was previously impossible. Some ‘wireless corridors’ already exist to serve disadvantaged communities e.g. the ‘Harlem free wifi zone’. But this is the first time a major USA city has made a openly underlined its dependence on the internet. The next decade in NYC should be an exciting time for data consumers.