Senator Schumer calls for better Internet connectivity, WiredNYC responds

By Cale Guthrie Weissman , written on December 5, 2013

From The News Desk

Last night's New York Tech Meetup was prologued by an impromptu appearance from well-known New York Senator Chuck Schumer. While his words were nice, he said nothing particularly new or enthralling. "My job," he began, "is to keep tech growing in New York."

Growth in tech is good for the city, as well the hope for immigration reform, he added. At the same time, Schumer queried, "Why shouldn't we have have wifi everywhere in New York?" He then called on the New York developer community to "come up with ways to do that."

And so he left the stage, thankful for New York's thriving tech scene, and let some young burgeoning techies demo their upcoming shenanigans.

Almost as if this was planned, a company called WiredNYC showcased its New York tech-centric project shortly thereafter. Wired is an initiative to make Internet connectivity in New York buildings more transparent. It has devised a set of standards that can be easily tested in each building, to indicate how good an internet connection in a certain building is. Each building tested is given a score, which ranks on a scale from "Connected" (the worst) to "Platinum" (the best).

The idea behind the Wired Score is to allow businesses looking for office space to know what they're getting into before signing the lease and calling Comcast. WiredNYC's Arie Barendrecht says he hopes this will cause landlords to "wake up… and hopefully invest [in better infrastructure]."

The initiative was created through one of Bloomberg's many tech outreach tentacles. It officially launched last September, and has already scored 278 Class A buildings in New York. The plan is to continue scoring buildings in a timely fashion and launch a simultaneous residential program in the near future.

While WiredNYC admits that landlords probably wouldn't be too thrilled to admit their building has shoddy Internet connectivity, the hope is that this could become a new standard for brokers and realtors when showing buildings and apartments.

This is all very early on, and before any of this can be fully implemented, WiredNYC will need to rate every Class A building. Following that, the scoring must go on to other, less pristine New York structures, so its standards become more ubiquitous. Additionally, it will need to pray that the transition from a Bloomberg to a de Blasio administration will yield an environment equally amenable to these kinds of tech initiatives.

Schumer remains optimistic in this vein explaining that "de Blasio is interested in expanding Bloomberg's work on tech."

And if we reach a day when all apartments are scored, here's hoping my future building will deemed platinum.

[Image by Craig Williston / Qool Foto via NYTM]