Xchange Telecom Partners With NYC EDC on Broadband Expansion in Industrial Business Zones

New Broadband Networks Will Improve Access to High-Speed Internet in IBZs in Brooklyn and Queens, Helping to Facilitate Connections for Hundreds of Businesses in Underserved Digital Deserts

NEW YORK--()--New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) today announced the launch of Connect IBZ: Broadband Expansion in Industrial Business Zones (Connect IBZ), a $5.3 million public-private partnership that will construct access to high-speed Internet in IBZs in New York City by expanding broadband infrastructure in currently underserved areas. The program will create high-speed commercial broadband networks in the Southwest Brooklyn, Long Island City, North Brooklyn, and Greenpoint-Williamsburg IBZs, which are among the City’s “Digital Deserts.” Fast and reliable broadband access has become increasingly critical for businesses of all types in New York City, and Connect IBZ will help increase access to broadband connectivity for hundreds of businesses in these currently underserved communities. The networks in the four IBZs will be designed, constructed, maintained, and operated by Stealth Communications Services LLC, and Xchange Telecom LLC, two New York City-based Internet Service Providers (ISPs).

“We consistently hear from our businesses in the IBZs, particularly those in smaller, older buildings, that access to high speed, reliable, affordable broadband is essential to their future success”

"High-speed Internet is critical to the success of businesses in the 21st century economy, and it is imperative that we support these Industrial Business Zones with the necessary infrastructure so that they can continue to provide quality jobs for New Yorkers," said NYCEDC Interim President Kim Vaccari. "Connect IBZ provides broadband access to underserved industrial businesses in Brooklyn and Queens, bringing increased opportunities to hundreds of businesses in former Digital Deserts."

Through the Connect IBZ program, Stealth Communications will build a fiber optic network in the Southwest Brooklyn IBZ, and will work with NYCEDC and members of the community to determine a site for an outdoor wireless network that will be free to the public. Xchange Telecom will create a fiber core, fixed-wireless edge broadband network in the Long Island City, North Brooklyn, and Greenpoint-Williamsburg IBZs, enabling customers to receive service from network hubs wirelessly via rooftop-mounted equipment. Customers signing up for service from either provider will have access to service at speeds from 10 megabits per second to one gigabit per second or higher. Both ISPs will work closely with community organizations in the IBZs to ensure that the network design and business outreach processes are informed by local priorities and provide local benefits. Kickoff events will be held this summer in each of the IBZs, where commercial tenants will be able to learn more about the program and sign up for service. Businesses interested in the IBZs interested in upgraded broadband service may visit http://nycedc.com/connectibz to learn more about these events and submit their information to be put in touch with the ISPs as service rolls out in their area.

NYCEDC will provide over $1.6 million for the program from the New York State Connect NY Broadband Grant Program. This funding will be supplemented by private contributions from the ISPs totaling over $3.75M. Project funding will cover the costs of network creation as well as build-outs to at least 500 commercial tenants over two years, with both ISPs investing in further network expansion beyond the contract term. Commercial tenants in the IBZs will benefit from access to newer and more reliable technologies as well as faster Internet speeds that will enable them to grow and thrive. This initial investment in broadband infrastructure in these digital deserts will serve as a launching pad for future growth and will ensure that these areas remain competitive with other real estate in the city for attracting and retaining innovative businesses.

The Connect IBZ project areas were selected through a publicly-issued Request for Expressions of Interest, and the providers were selected through a public Request for Proposals issued in summer 2014.

“Access to high-speed broadband is critical for growing and retaining business in New York State. Without robust broadband infrastructure, businesses cannot remain competitive in today’s 21st century global economy,” said David Salway, Executive Director of the NYS Broadband Program. “We are extremely pleased that through Governor Cuomo’s Connect NY Broadband Grant Program, unserved businesses in the NYC region will benefit from these key infrastructure improvements.”

"For 20 years Stealth’s mission has been serving New York City businesses with ultrafast Internet connectivity," said Shrihari Pandit, Managing Member of Stealth Communications. "We are honored to receive support from the City and State — the grant speeds our expansion into Brooklyn and brings down broadband costs for businesses throughout the IBZ."

“Xchange Telecom is honored to be a key part of the NYCEDC Connect IBZ project. Xchange will deliver business class broadband services as well as state of the art Communications services to the rapidly growing and thriving business community located throughout the Connect IBZ footprint,” says Alfred West, CEO of Xchange Telecom.

“We consistently hear from our businesses in the IBZs, particularly those in smaller, older buildings, that access to high speed, reliable, affordable broadband is essential to their future success,” Elizabeth Lusskin, President of the Long Island City Partnership. “This is true whether you are operating a more traditional industrial company that uses tech on your sales and administrative side, or one of our many companies where tech forms the core of the business. Increasing broadband on an area-wide basis will also help LIC maintain a competitive edge over areas outside the city that seek to lure our companies away.”

“We’re so glad Connect IBZ is getting off the ground,” stated Leah Archibald, Executive Director of Evergreen. “So many businesses complain about spotty telephone and internet service in North Brooklyn. This program will provide relief for these businesses, helping them respond to their customers’ needs in a timely fashion.”

“The Southwest Brooklyn Industrial Development Corporation (SBIDC) is thrilled that the businesses of Southwest Brooklyn will soon benefit from widespread and reliable broadband internet access,” said David Meade, Executive Director of SBIDC. “For years now throughout Sunset Park, short and sometimes long term internet outages are very common. We hear from businesses all the time of the challenges in conducting business day in and day out because of faulty and inconsistent internet service. With all the challenges of running a small business, an improved and fast internet service will help the myriad of businesses not only with everyday operations but also add to their ability to expand their business.”

Connect IBZ is part of City's larger suite of initiatives to expand broadband connectivity and increase high-speed Internet access for commercial businesses and entrepreneurs, including WiredNYC, an initiative aimed at bringing transparency to broadband connectivity in NYC's commercial buildings and the NYC Broadband Map, which provides an up-to-date view of the availability of broadband infrastructure in commercial buildings as well as a view of emerging demand for broadband services in the City’s commercial buildings and neighborhoods. Additionally, the City remains committed to the expansion of broadband and high-speed Internet access throughout all five boroughs. In November 2014, Mayor de Blasio announced LinkNYC, an initiative that will bring the world’s fastest municipal Wi-Fi to millions of New Yorkers by replacing an aging network of public pay telephones with state-of-the-art connection points.

About NYCEDC

New York City Economic Development Corporation is the City's primary vehicle for promoting economic growth in each of the five boroughs. NYCEDC's mission is to stimulate growth through expansion and redevelopment programs that encourage investment, generate prosperity and strengthen the City's competitive position. NYCEDC serves as an advocate to the business community by building relationships with companies that allow them to take advantage of New York City's many opportunities. Find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, or visit our blog to learn more about NYCEDC projects and initiatives.

About Stealth

Based in New York City, Stealth Communications provides ultrafast Internet connectivity to businesses since 1995. In 2013, the company received authorization from the City of New York to start construction of its own fiber network. Laying every single cable and servicing each customer personally, Stealth offers some of the City’s fastest and most reliable Internet service at a nominal cost, providing a platform for New York’s businesses and entrepreneurs to thrive. Visit www.stealth.net or call Stealth at +1-212-232-2020 to learn more about their Internet and dark fiber services.

About Xchange

Xchange Telecom is a NYC based voice and data service provider serving the greater NY area. Xchange Telecom, which was founded in 2002, builds and operates customized network, Ethernet and voice solutions for business, enterprise and carrier customers. Xchange Telecom is committed to the highest level of customer service and support. For more information on the company services, please visit www.xchangetele.com. For more information on the Xchange Connect IBZ project, please visit www.xchangetele.com/NYCIBZ.