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De Blasio’s Internet Plan Includes Turning Pay Phones Into Wi-Fi Hot Spots

Mayor Bill de Blasio (credit: Getty Images)

Mayor Bill de Blasio (credit: Getty Images)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Mayor Bill de Blasio kicked off “Internet Week” on Monday by saying New York City cannot continue to have “a digital divide.”

The mayor said his administration wants to make sure every neighborhood in the city is wired for high-speed broadband Internet access.

But the mayor said New York can’t rely on broadband alone to power “an inclusive economy, an effective education system and a vibrant democracy,” WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb reported.

De Blasio pointed to the coming Harlem Wi-Fi network, which will be the largest continuous, free network of its kind in the nation.

“This will bring free Wi-Fi to 80,000 people between 110th Street and 138th Street,” de Blasio said during a news conference on West 18th Street in Manhattan. “And it’ll be a great model for us going forward.”

He also wants to turn 10,000 little-used pay phones into Internet hot spots.

In addition, the mayor unveiled an ambitious plan to make New York City a more attractive destination for high-tech jobs.

He announced a $10 million program to train New Yorkers to be better qualified for tech sector jobs.

De Blasio is also launching a task force to aid with the projects. Many of the plans will take years to finish.

Currently, there are about 291,000 high-tech jobs in New York City, which has earned the nickname “Silicon Alley.”

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