DoITT Announces New Mobile Telecommunications Agreements in 5G Expansion

January 14, 2020

10 New Franchise Agreements Will Help Pave the Way for Equitable Expansion of 5G Across New York City

NEW YORK— The New York City Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT) today announced the independent Franchise and Concession Review Committee (FCRC) approval of 10 franchise agreements negotiated by DoITT, laying the groundwork for the equitable expansion of 5G mobile service across all five boroughs.

"New Yorkers in every corner of every borough should have access to high quality, affordable broadband," said Deputy Mayor Laura Anglin. "Today's agreements are a significant step forward to ensuring an end to the digital divide in New York City."

"The agreements announced today mark another critical step forward in the creation of a reliable, connected 5G network that will serve New Yorkers across all parts of our City," said DoITT Commissioner and Citywide Chief Information Officer Jessica Tisch.

The FCRC approved franchise agreements between DoITT and the following 10 franchisees: Crown Castle Fiber, Crown Castle NG East, Crown Castle Solutions, CSC Wireless, ExteNet Systems (ExteNet 1), ExteNet Systems (ExteNet 2), New Cingular Wireless PCS, New York SMSA Limited Partnership, Transit Wireless, and ZenFi Networks. This process started with a request-for-proposals.

The agreements authorize the franchisees to install, operate, and maintain equipment and facilities, including base stations and access-point facilities, on City-owned street and traffic light poles as well as some privately owned utility poles. The agreements also cover bus stop shelters, automatic public toilets, and LinkNYC kiosks, subject to additional City approvals.

For 15 years, the City of New York has managed the deployment of wireless technology on the City's light poles and on privately owned utility poles. This effort has resulted in nearly 6,000 pole installations — with 5,000 more in the pipeline — by franchisees throughout the five boroughs, with the goal of ensuring equitable access to the most robust mobile networks possible across the City.

The new agreements grant pole-top access to 10 franchisees, increasing competition and spurring the building out of existing 4G networks in underserved areas outside of Manhattan as well as laying the groundwork for the 5G expansion. Franchisees will then have the opportunity to reserve poles and install equipment at their selected sites.

"I'm thrilled that there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to improving cell service across the five boroughs," said Council Member Holden. "This long-overdue expansion will help bring many New Yorkers into the modern age of connectivity, and I'm glad the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications is heading in the right direction under Commissioner Jessica Tisch."

"New York City is the fastest paced city in the world and if we want to keep that title we need the fastest wireless with 5G, and we need it now. New York City needs 5G, we need it yesterday, and with today's approvals we will be getting it," said Council Member Ben Kallos. "I've honestly been waiting to buy my next smartphone with 5G, and now I can knowing the City will be rolling out the 5G network New Yorkers need. Goodbye high latency slow downloads and hello low latency high speed with ultra reliable connections. New York City needs 5G for a future of self-driving vehicles that can platoon to save fuel, lower costs of commodities, ease congestion, and save our planet. Thank you to Mayor de Blasio, Deputy Mayor Anglin, and Commissioner Tisch for their leadership in clearing the way for 5G in New York City."

"We are excited by the DOITT announcement that there will be expanded connectivity for enhanced cell service and internet speeds across New York City in all boroughs, including underserved communities. This will provide for more equitable access to communication and information for all," said Assemblyman Clyde Vanel.

"A major part of a successful telecommunications ecosystem is a well-trained and reliable workforce. CWA supports the inclusion of worker safety and subcontractor transparency language into the City's mobile telecom franchises as deployment takes place on publicly owned poles and in the public rights of way. We hope New York City's leadership on this will be taken up by other municipalities across the nation," said Bob Master, Assistant to the Vice President for the Communications Workers of America District 1.

The franchise agreements are in effect for 10 years.

About the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT)
DoITT is the technology core of New York City government, working with over 100 city agencies and entities to deliver the tech they need to serve and empower New Yorkers. DoITT’s technology solutions help keep the five boroughs safe, strong, and vibrant. For more information, visit or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.