A diverse group of business, technology and telecommunications leaders today outlined a road map for the next mayor to bring critical next-generation connectivity, 5G, to all corners of New York City – a crucial step toward maintaining economic competitiveness and ensuring a full and fair post-pandemic recovery.

In recent years, New York City has fallen behind in the deployment of infrastructure necessary to establish a robust 5G network, which will allow an unprecedented amount of data to be transmitted by mobile devices at speeds up to 100 times faster than the current 4G standard and will impact every aspect of modern life – from health care, remote work, and education to transportation, commerce, and public safety.

The COVID-19 crisis highlighted and exacerbated the digital divide, underscoring that all New Yorkers require robust, reliable, and fast connectivity to succeed in an increasingly digital world. With millions of dollars earmarked by Washington for improved connectivity, the next mayor must maximize this unique opportunity to deliver the next-generation online access that ensures the success of City residents, organizations, businesses for years to come. According to a recent poll by Siena College Research Institute, more than half (57%) of New York City business leaders say that if 5G does not soon become available, the city’s reputation as a global hub of innovation, creativity and media would suffer, and one-in-five say they would consider leaving the city.

The 5G blueprint recommends:

  • Industry and government alignment on a comprehensive 5G rollout plan.
  • Consolidation of all City technology policy under a single deputy mayor.
  • Collaborate with industry to expedite universal 5G service.
  • Make more municipal-owned infrastructure available for small cell deployment.
  • Alleviate wireless congestion.
  • Approve multi-carrier small cell design, enhance rooftop antenna & equipment size.

Click here for the 5G Blueprint.

“Achieving universal, high speed digital access is a top priority for the city’s recovery and continued growth,” said Kathryn Wylde, President and CEO of the Partnership for New York City. “This can only be accomplished through a strong partnership between industry and local government – a relationship that has been launched under the de Blasio Administration but must be embraced by our next mayor.”

“New York City is at a crossroads, and it is incumbent on the next mayor to take us down the road of equity, success, and affordability for all,” Clayton Banks, co-founder and CEO of Silicon Harlem. “That simply cannot occur without widespread access to next-generation connectivity. We must close the digital divide of today while laying the groundwork to avoid recreating the technological inequalities of tomorrow.”

“It is well past time for our city to recognize the immediate need to improve connectivity for New York residents and businesses, particularly small businesses that are still struggling to survive in the wake of the pandemic,” said Thomas J. Grech, President & CEO of the Queens Chamber of Commerce. “New York must lay the groundwork for the citywide implementation of 5G as soon as possible. In doing so, we will be looking forward, helping small businesses avoid service gaps—and all the problems that come with them—in the future.”

“The past year has demonstrated that we are all deeply interconnected; we can do business across neighborhoods, borders, and even oceans–-as long as we have the appropriate technology in place and equitable access to it,” said Melva M. Miller, CEO of the Association for a Better New York (ABNY). “This blueprint provides the foundation to enable the next mayor to fast-track the City’s recovery effort and position it for long-term economic success that benefits all New Yorkers.”

“Small businesses across New York City have been hit particularly hard during COVID, yet many have managed to pivot their business model, and adopt better technology in order to stay in business,” said Randy Peers, President & CEO of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce.  “All these changes will be for naught, however, if our digital infrastructure continues to significantly lag behind what is needed for today’s economic realities.  We need 5G now, and we would urge the new administration to make this one of their key economic development priorities.”

“The industry is anxious to partner with the incoming administration to deliver on the significant and widespread benefits of next-generation technology for all New Yorkers,” said Ana Rua, Government Affairs Manager for New York City and State at Crown Castle. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and it is mission critical that we get it right. We stand ready to assist the next mayor in this transformational effort and have outlined a clear path forward to achieve that success.”

“To remain a global leader of innovation and industry, it’s imperative that New York City’s technology infrastructure advance with the needs of its citizens and businesses. From helping students complete their homework to a startup developing products and services, equal access to this next-gen connectivity will both impact our ability to remain at the cutting-edge and the future economic success of our city,” said Andy Saldaña, Executive Director, NY Tech Alliance.

“The wireless broadband sector is ready to accelerate efforts to bring next-generation connectivity to New York City with significant capital investments,” said Patricia Jacobs, President – Northern Region, AT&T. “We are proud to work with this diverse group of industry, economic development, and technology leaders to put forward a comprehensive plan to bring 5G to every corner of the five boroughs, and we hope our next mayor will support and embrace our efforts.”

“We look forward to collaborating with this diverse group of stakeholders to deliver industry-leading 5G technology across New York City,” said Kristin Steiner, SVP Sales and Strategic Partnerships for Transit Wireless. “Next-generation connectivity will be at the forefront as we partner to close the digital divide, ensure the City’s recovery and help facilitate its future growth.”

“Ensuring widespread access to next-generation connectivity will play an important role in strengthening New York City’s economy as we continue forward on the path to long-term recovery,” said REBNY President James Whelan. “REBNY is pleased to work with this broad coalition of stakeholders to advocate for sensible strategies focused on ending the digital divide and promoting an equitable recovery for all New Yorkers.”