New York City is looking to double down on its status as a technology-first metropolis as city officials announced this week five new initiatives with the goal of expanding New York's booming tech sector.
The initiatives, introduced by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and developed in partnership with the New York City Economic Development Corporation and the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications, include a variety of plans to further develop broadband access and incorporate technology into the City's public policy:
1. ConnectNYC: Small and medium-sized companies in buildings with poor broadband wiring will compete with one another to win free "fast-track wiring" from the City. The competitions will be based on need those businesses that can prove they need faster, more reliable broadband connectivity in order to keep growing will get fast-tracked. The City is ironing out a partnership with Time Warner Cable to do the actual wiring.
2. WiredNYC: A building certification program that will grade and record broadband infrastructure in more than 300 office buildings over the next two years, which the city believes will make the commercial real estate market more transparent. You can think of it as the city's restaurant health grading system for high-speed enterprise broadband.
3. NYC Broadband Connect Map: The City will collect data from various sources to develop a "crowd-sourced, dynamic map" that will show the availability and speed of broadband throughout the five boroughs. The idea? To clearly show Internet providers where the demand for better services exists.
4. Broadband Express: The City will reduce "regulatory hurdles" (read: bureaucratic red tape) to make life easier for Internet Service Providers seeking permits for street operations and other expansion projects. The City believes the program could "facilitate nearly 25,000 broadband-related permits" over the next two years.
5. CitizenConnect: A public-private partnership to spur mobile app developers to create new software to help New Yorkers access job listings and other "worker support programs" by setting up development competitions. Many of those services are already available online, but the City believes that mobile apps will increase their use as mobile devices have "much higher penetration" in New York City than other Internet-capable devices, such as computers at public libraries.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg framed the five initiatives in terms of economic development.
"The growing technology industry is diversifying the City's economy and creating the jobs of the future," said Mayor Bloomberg in a press release.
"To support those jobs, we need to help the industry get the resources it needs whether that means more qualified engineers or broadband connections. But encouraging investment in broadband will help more than just the tech sector it will make sure more businesses and more New Yorkers can get connected."
Rachel Sterne, the City's chief digital officer, told Mashable that New York City has been working closely with leaders in other cities to share ideas on integrating technology into public policy.
"I think it's a testament to the enormous momentum in the technology sector here that many cities do look to New York City for guidance," said Sterne.
"We find that the exchange of ideas is always very helpful. We've realized we have a shared goal of realizing our digital potential. We've shared our lessons learned and our plans access to technology, bridging the digital divide, opening up data sets, education measures such as Cornell NYCTech as well as how we use digital media to engage with the public."
How else can technology change cities? Share your ideas in the comments.