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Press Release -- April 19th, 2023
Source: zenfi

Staten Island Tech News: New Staten Island Gigabit Center Opens, Empowering Immigrants and Helping Eliminate Digital Borders

Staten Island Gigabit Center is a part of partnership between LinkNYC and OTI to bridge the digital divide for those with the most need

28% of immigrant households across New York lack internet access

To view B-roll, video of remarks, and photos of the event, click HERE

Staten Island, New York – Yesterday, LinkNYC, in collaboration with the New York City Office of Technology and Innovation (OTI), ZenFi Networks, the NYC Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA), and La Colmena, a community-based organization focused on empowering immigrants, opened the state-of-the-art Staten Island Gigabit Center at the La Colmena community center in Stapleton Heights. The Staten Island Gigabit Center is a unique community resource that offers free high-speed internet, digital literacy training, and other services with a focus on immigrant New Yorkers, all powered by LinkNYC’s free public Wi-Fi network.

The new center will provide Staten Island residents, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds, with high-speed internet access to help bridge the digital divide. Citywide, 1-in-3 households lack either home or mobile broadband, and 1.3 million New Yorkers have neither — with the disparity most prevalent in low-income and minority communities. In fact, 28 percent of immigrant households in the city completely lack internet access. On Staten Island alone, 18% of households do not have immediate access to reliable Wi-Fi and 12% of public school students do not have access to adequate broadband outside of school.

“People who do not have access to the internet do not have equal access to opportunity — it’s that simple, and it’s a disparity we must fix. The solution is straightforward: give our communities the resources needed to level the playing field, which is exactly what we do at LinkNYC,” said Nick Colvin, CEO of LinkNYC. “Opening this Gigabit Center on Staten Island is a major milestone in our efforts to ensure all New Yorkers have access to the reliable, high-speed, quality internet service they deserve — and we are especially proud it will serve some of the newest New Yorkers.”

“For centuries, the hard work of immigrants has served as the backbone of our city, and providing them with necessary services like broadband is the absolute least we can do to pay it forward,” said Mayor Adams. “In today’s digital age, reliable, high-speed internet is as essential as water and heat, and, as a city of immigrants, it is crucial that workers and families new to our city and country have that access to help them pursue their American Dream. Thank you to La Colmena for being an outstanding partner to our administration on efforts to serve immigrant workers and families in Staten Island.”

“For our immigrant workers and families, New York City’s promise of a better life depends upon access to reliable, high-speed internet to secure job opportunities, stay socially connected, and learn new skills,” said Chief Technology Officer Fraser. “Today’s Gigabit Center opening ensures this underserved population in Staten Island receives this important resource – and also demonstrates this administration’s ongoing commitment to serving our broader immigrant community. I thank Mayor Adams for his unwavering commitment to bridging the digital divide and our partners at LinkNYC and La Colmena for delivering life-changing opportunities to Staten Island.”

“ZenFi Networks is proud to play a role in this initiative, and take part in opening the fifth Gigabit Center here in New York. As we collectively work to eliminate digital poverty across the five boroughs, we firmly believe that these types of private-public partnerships are vital, and we can’t thank our partners enough.” said Robert Sokota, President of Link Solutions at ZenFi Networks. “Every community faces their own unique challenges and Staten Island is no different. For us to successfully build the connected communities we talk so much about, we must connect with the community firsthand. With our continued commitment to digital infrastructure, we look forward to delivering seamless connectivity throughout New York City and beyond.”

The launch of the Staten Island Gigabit Center is a part of LinkNYC’s partnership with OTI to help bridge New York’s digital divide. Last year, LinkNYC and ZenFi Networks began deploying 2,000 next-generation Link5G kiosks, which provide New Yorkers with free high-speed Wi-Fi, free nationwide calls, and faster, more reliable 5G mobile broadband service. In addition, by installing the fiber optic “backbone” infrastructure everywhere LinkNYC kiosks are deployed, LinkNYC is making it easier and cheaper for New Yorkers to get high-speed broadband internet access at home.

“La Colmena is excited to partner up with NYC OTI, LinkNYC, ZenFi Networks, and the City, in launching the 5th Gigabit Center to provide internet connectivity to the community,” said Yesenia Mata, Executive Director of La Colmena.  “We are proud to represent Staten Island, as we understand the needs of communities that have been underserved. Together we are creating change and bringing resources to communities in need.”

A number of leaders from the Adam’s administration, including Chief Technology Officer and Commissioner of OTI Matthew Fraser and MOIA Commissioner Manuel Castro, along with Staten Island elected officials, attended the opening.

“As the ultimate city of immigrants, this administration is constantly thinking of ways to bridge the digital divide – especially with underserved communities,” said MOIA Commissioner Castro. “I am proud to see the City partner with on the ground community organizations like La Colmena to serve immigrant New Yorkers with access to high speed Wi-Fi access and digital literacy programming.”

Over the next few months, LinkNYC plans to increase its digital literacy training and programming at all five recently opened Gigabit Centers. These centers — one in each borough — will provide New Yorkers with the opportunity to access vital technology resources and learn how to access critical services to improve their lives. The centers will offer a range of free services and programs, such as computer and software training, online job search assistance, and financial and health literacy resources.


About LinkNYC

LinkNYC is the world’s largest and fastest free public Wi-Fi network. Each Link kiosk provides

free superfast Wi-Fi, phone calls, device charging, access to social services, and displays content such as real-time weather, transit info, public art, and local information. The city-wide network has more than 11 million Wi-Fi users and has connected more than 25 million free phone calls. All of LinkNYC’s services are completely free to users and taxpayers, provided by CityBridge, a partnership led by Intersection and ZenFi Networks. The second generation offering will deploy thousands of new kiosks, called Link5G, enabled with 5G wireless technology across the city. For more information about LinkNYC or to find a Link near you, visit

About NYC Office of Technology and Innovation

The Office of Technology and Innovation (OTI) is the leading voice of technology in the City of New York. Technology underpins everything the City does, from policing to benefits screening, and with the combined power of technology expertise across the City, OTI is agile, efficient, and laser-focused on revolutionizing technology and government with an aim at increasing the quality of service for all New Yorkers. We “Get Stuff Done” by streamlining every facet of the City’s technology management into a single cohesive work stream with one common purpose: to enhance the lives of New Yorkers through technology.

About ZenFi Networks

ZenFi Networks is a member of the joint venture CityBridge, which deploys and operates LinkNYC, the largest and fastest free public Wi-Fi network in the world. As a leading digital infrastructure provider in the tri-state area, ZenFi is responsible for deployment and management of the LinkNYC Wi-Fi and kiosk network.

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