Embedding Equity in City Broadband Investments

by The Tech Executive Leadership Initiative Summer 2021 Cohort

As part of their 10-week technology policy training program, the leaders of the Tech Executive Leadership Initiative spent 6 weeks working on real-world government challenges. In teams of 4-5, the leaders tackled the following prompt:

The City of New York is currently carrying out the largest city-led initiative to close the digital divide in the nation, seeking to provide quality internet service to the 40% of City households that do not have both home and mobile broadband. As the City contracts with private companies through this initiative, how can it ensure that companies adhere to digital inclusion principles such as equity, performance, affordability, privacy, and choice?

Click below to view a sample of the outputs each team created.

Preferred Vendor Certification Program

Incentivizing providers of quality, affordable internet through a voluntary certification program
by Alex Bores, Bindu Gakhar, Dwight Lin, and Nicole Schneidman

This project recommends that the City establish an Internet Service Provider Preferred Vendor Certification Program that provides enticements to vendors who meet certain performance and affordability criteria. Establishing a voluntary certification program would incentivize vendors to provide more affordable internet services without the City having to engage in the costly and litigious process of enforcing affordability and access provisions in contracts.

View the One-Pager
View the Vendor Certification Playbook
View the Sample Digital Equity Pledge
View the Sample ISP Reporting Form

Project Loop: Community Feedback and Vendor Incentive Program

Adapting approval and oversight processes to project scale
by Neelam Dwivedi, Garrett Houghton, Girish Seshagiri, and Laura Thomas

This project recommends that the City adopt a Community Feedback System and a Vendor Incentive Program to incentivize vendors with advertising opportunities. These elements seek to create a circle of transparency that holds vendors accountable to the communities they serve, and makes good publicity contingent on high performance.

View the One-Pager
View the Community Feedback System Prototype
View the Operational Plan
View the Sample Feedback Form
View the Demo

EBT System for Broadband Subsidies

Integrating broadband payments into Electronic Benefits Transfer infrastructure
by Benj Azose, Alicia Blum-Ross, Jennie Crichlow, Joshua Gordon, and Angela Govila

This project recommends that the City of New York work with City and State agencies to subsidize the cost of broadband for low-income households using existing Electronic Benefits Transfer infrastructure. Expanding EBT infrastructure to cover broadband payments would directly lower the cost of broadband for low-income households and offer a sustainable, long-term solution.

View the One-Pager
View the Operational Plan
View the FAQ Guide
View the Sample Vendor Application
View the Sample Recipient Application
View the Critical User Journeys

A Robust Internal System for Successful Broadband Implementation

Using five priorities to guide New York City’s management of new broadband contracts
by Janette Fong, Clay McGuyer, Christine Sakuda, and Bill Ward

This project recommends that the City couple its Universal Solicitation for Broadband Request for Proposals with a robust internal performance management system for the Internet Service Providers awarded contracts through this process. The suggested system is anchored by five main priorities, including: well-defined metrics for digital equity; a regular performance review schedule; and mechanisms to reward or penalize vendors based on performance.

View the One-Pager
View the Operational Plan
View the Infographic

EDEN: NYC Digital Equity Index and Provider Accreditation

Making digital equity a competitive advantage for digital businesses
by Anita Balaraman, Laura Ellena, Quaseer Mujawar, Aaron Ogle, and Miro RabVass

This project proposes that the City implement a rigorous and holistic summary of digital equity indicators – the Expanding Digital Equity in NYC (EDEN) Index – to evaluate progress towards equitable broadband access. The EDEN Index seeks to both enable the City to consistently assess provider performance and to accredit exemplary providers as “digital equity champions.”

View the One-Pager
View the Implementation Plan
View the EDEN Index ReadMe
View the Prototype Dashboard
View the Sample Company Info Sheet
View the Sample Public Info Sheet