The New York City Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications releases this request for proposals (RFP) from firms who wish to expand wireless connectivity across the five boroughs. Awardees will become franchisees of the City, granted the right to install technology on City-owned light poles and utility poles in order to provide wider coverage and better service to the millions of New Yorkers who rely on mobile service each day.
For more than a decade, the City of New York has managed the deployment of wireless technology on the city’s light poles. This effort has resulted in nearly 9,000 poles reserved by franchisees throughout the five boroughs, which are (or will soon be) outfitted with equipment that can connect wireless phone owners to a 3G, 4G, or LTE wireless signal on a mobile device. These installations ensure state-of-the-art service from providers while also serving to facilitate the introduction of emerging technologies.
Demand for poles has historically been highest in Manhattan below 96th street. As a result, in November 2017, DoITT re-focused franchisee pole reservations to underserved areas across the 5 boroughs. This effort yielded, for the first time ever, more poles reserved outside of the city’s central business district than within it—better meeting the need for technology access in all of our communities.
This RFP builds upon successes to date, but also introduces installations in some of the other street furniture around the City. Under the provisions of this RFP, LinkNYC kiosks may become eligible sites for mobile telecom franchisees to place their wireless installations. The more than 1,600 active LinkNYC kiosks deliver superfast free Wi-Fi across the five boroughs and have already seen upwards of 4 million subscribers use its free Wi-Fi service. DoITT also encourages RFP responders to propose ideas for neutral host installations, allowing multiple providers to offer service on the same pole and making wireless service more resilient.
This Mobile Telecommunications Franchise RFP is part of a broader process being undertaken by the Mayor’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer (MOCTO) with DoITT to maximize use of its relatively scarce infrastructure to serve all New Yorkers equitably. The RFP reserves the City’s authority to issue new solicitations in the future to further advance the goal of universal broadband.