Mayor Bill De Blasio kicked off Internet Week near Union Square this morning, but despite the Manhattan location, it was Brooklyn — where companies like Kickstarter have taken root — that he touted as an “extraordinary example of success” in the tech sector.
“Brooklyn, by the way — let me brag as a Brooklynite — is now the fastest growing tech county in this country other than the city of San Francisco,” he carped, “and we are proud of that fact as Brooklynites.” De Blasio didn’t cite a source for that information, but the website of the Brooklyn Tech Triangle — which aims to be a blueprint for tech sector growth — says that by 2015, “projections highlight the potential for 14,800 to 22,000 tech workers” in Downtown Brooklyn, Dumbo and the Navy Yard. That area is expected to grow to support nearly 18,000 direct jobs and 43,000 indirect jobs, the site says.
The next step, De Blasio said, is to reproduce the success of the Tech Triangle in the other outerboroughs, starting with the development of a Queens Tech Strategic Plan.
During his half-hour address, De Blasio stressed a goal of “universal, affordable high-speed internet access throughout this city” and promised to “shake up the status quo when it comes to broadband” by introducing more competition, reexamining franchise agreements with Verizon Fios and Time Warner Cable, and turning up to 10,000 pay phones into internet hot spots.
The mayor also announced a NYC Tech Talent Pipeline that will “train thousands of New Yorkers for jobs in the tech ecosystem.” The project’s $10 million budget is comprised of dollars from city, state and federal sources, as well as from partners like JPMorgan Chase and the New York Community Trust. “The city will administer the Tech Talent Pipeline to recruit and train New Yorkers, design new curricula to meet employers’ needs, and engage employers in building the talent pipeline,” De Blasio said.
Tomorrow the mayor is expected to announce members of the city’s Jobs for New Yorkers task force, which he said would aim to “update everything we do in the way of training and education to focus on where our economy is actually going, where the quality jobs are, where the talent needs are.”
De Blasio also touted another “exciting initiative” (Bloomberg’s), the Harlem WiFi Network, as “the largest continuous free public WiFi network in the nation,” bringing free internet access to 80,000 people between 110th Street and 138th Street.