Law Department Defeats Legal Effort To Stop Citywide Wi-Fi Project

Posted on July 13, 2016, 9:16 am
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A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit aimed at stopping a key City initiative to bring free high-speed broadband to the public, the City Law Department announced today.

In a July 11 ruling, United States District Judge Nina Gershon granted the City’s motion for summary judgment against Telebeam, a payphone vendor who sued the City in 2014. The company claimed the City violated the Federal Telecommunications Act in awarding a contract to CityBridge, a competitor ultimately chosen to implement broadband services on public sidewalks as part of the LinkNYC project. Telebeam sought to block the removal of its 1300 public payphones which is needed for the full implementation of the hotspots.

Corporation Counsel Zachary W. Carter said: “We are pleased with this decision which brings us one step nearer to closing the digital divide. Now that this legal obstacle has been removed, the City’s good work towards establishing a more equitable and connected City can proceed unimpeded.”

“This decision is a victory for residents and visitors who will benefit from free and super-fast wireless access throughout the City. This decision clears the path for the world’s largest, super-fast free municipal Wi-Fi network,” said Maya Wiley, Counsel to the Mayor.

“This welcomed decision will help us modernize the City streets by allowing Links to replace all existing payphones – ensuring that New Yorkers can benefit from the free superfast Wi-Fi, phone calls and web browsing that LinkNYC provides – and we are pleased with the outcome,” said Anne Roest, Commissioner of the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT).

Jerald Horowitz, Michelle Goldberg-Cahn, and Pamela Koplik represented the City.

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