Socialism From NY Mayor, Bronx public housing Receive More Free Stuff

Bronx public housing

Socialism From NY Mayor, Bronx public housing Receive More Free Stuff

Mott Haven, NY –  Free tablets and Internet access will soon be available to thousands of families in Bronx public housing.

According to news sources, credit is due to Bill deBlasio, New York City mayor, and the federal Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro.  Mayor deBlasio said that it is “very difficult for New Yorkers to have equal opportunities in life if they did not first have equal access to the internet”.  He also said that the question of having access to the Internet cuts along economic lines and that if you have money, you have access to the Internet.   5,000 Bronx public housing families are supposed to receive the free tablets and Internet access.

The company T-Mobile has provided the tablets and the New York City’s Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications has paid for two years of data.  The tablets, worth about $159 each, and discounted Internet access are worth approximately a total of  $2 million. Both are being provided by T-Mobile and its high-speed data network.  The ultimate objective is achievement of New York City’s goal of having affordable Internet access to every New York resident by 2025.

The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) said that they will begin distribution of tablets in January, 2017, to Bronx public housing families who qualify and who have children under 19-years-old.  The tablets will be pre-loaded with applications that are also intended to help users connect to city services.  The apps include the 311 app, which includes all government information and non-emergency services, as well as the New York Public Library’s SimplyE app, which allows users who have library cards access to all 300,000 of the library’s e-books.  T-Mobile also said that it will provide training as needed to the Bronx public housing families who receive the items.

The New York Public Library has also announced that it will expand digital literacy and mobile tablet training programs at nearby branches in the Bronx, which will help New Yorkers learn about computer and internet basics, social media, protecting online information and privacy, career development, coding, and more.

Statistics show that almost 26 percent of all homes in the Bronx do not have Internet at home or via a cell phone, which is higher than the citywide rate of 19.8 percent.  According to Secretary Castro, the program is part of President Obama’s ConnectHome initiative.  He also said that it was an example of how HUD is intended to be used as an opportunity.

According to news sources, the ConnectHome Initiative was launched by President Obama in 2015, as a national pilot program bringing “Internet service providers, non-profits, and the public and private sectors together to offer high-speed internet access, technical training, digital literacy programs, and devices for residents in HUD-assisted housing.”  New York City is one of 28 communities throughout the nation that are participating in the ConnectHome pilot program.  The other cities include Philadelphia, Phoenix, Little Rock, Miami, Nashville, Seattle, Kansas City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington, DC.  Other providers have signed up to assist with giving free tablets and Internet access to those communities.

A 2015 analysis by the Center for Economic Opportunity showed that 20 percent of New York City households do not have in-home Internet service and 35 percent of households below the poverty line do not have access to any type of Internet access within their homes.  As part of Mayor deBlasio’s initiative, $70 million for broadband infrastructure investments has been designated for the next 10 years.

We commend the nobility of these gestures and are all for the best interest of children everywhere.  Yet we wonder about all of the providers’ continued financial involvement and what’s in it for them.  And while we’re not trying to be the Grinch, almost every library, school and college has Internet-accessible equipment and Internet access.  The Library app sounds great but why is the city-based app necessary?  Unless adults are using the tablets, of course. Is there a follow-up option for this program, to determine if it’s successful?  Or will the tablets end up on the street, traded for drugs, guns or something else?   Who’s monitoring the usage of the tablets, to see if they’re actually being used as designated, or for gaming or other purposes? What happens after the two years of free access?  Is this another social program that taxpayers will have to continue to pay?  Where is the incentive to work for something instead of having it given to you?  Also, why is this program designated for those in Bronx public housing?  What about the rural areas of the country, where many live below the poverty level, and don’t have connected politicians levying on their behalf.  Lastly, $2 million would go a long way towards helping students who need tutoring, special programs in schools,and the basic necessities in life, as well as providing food for the hungry, shelter for the homeless, and other issues.  Just some food for thought.

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