The pandemic revealed many inequities in the borough, including how thousands in the Bronx overpay for poor quality of Internet.
Recognizing this, Metropolitan College of NY teamed up with South Bronx Emergency Network (SBEN) and launched the Bronx Constructive Action Project with a goal of improving broadband borough wide.
On June 8, representatives presented their plans to Community Board 3. The goal of the project is to provide free professional emergency planning for the south Bronx, access to timely information for all types of emergencies, including pandemics, summer heat waves, winter storms, nor’easter or tropical storms, the ability to pose questions digitally regarding a disaster and the knowledge of how to connect to resources.
Chuck Frank, associate dean of Academic Affairs, Metropolitan College of NY, explained that in a digital age, having good broadband is essential.
“What we’re trying to do is find out what the internet’s connectivity is, measure it and then speak to the Internet service Provider,” he said. “Our goal is to get a disaster communication plan.”
The project, which will be in three areas of the south Bronx and focus on 140 residences in each community board, will test for internet speed, upload speed versus download speed and infected routers.
MCNY emergency management students will canvass the test groups, record their connectivity data and provide weekly training opportunities at the Bronx campus where residents will be shown how to use smart phones and computers for employment, education and telemedicine.
While there was no vote, board members fully supported the project. Board member Keziah Sullivan stressed how the pandemic revealed how important good connectivity is for education and jobs.
“This is not just for us, it’s for us to take back to the community,” Sullivan said. “We all have to be part of the plan.”