Hooked up! Free wifi coming to Red Hook Houses

Semper wifi: Laurenzo Reed will be ready to connect to the Internet any time, anywhere, once the city installs free wifi in the Red Hook Houses.
The Brooklyn Paper
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High-speed internet is coming to Red Hook’s public housing projects — but it is loading at the pace of a dial-up modem.

The city is planning to blast free wifi throughout the Red Hook Houses, the borough’s largest public housing development — but residents will have to wait until at least next year before they can log on, Mayor DeBlasio announced on July 16.

One resident says he’ll be happy when the complimentary cyberspace access finally arrives so he can use the money he currently spends on internet access for essentials.

“I’d probably spend it on food, laundry detergent — things you need on a daily basis,” said Laurenzo Reed.

The Hook-up is part of a planned $10-million project that will bring free internet to nearly 16,000 residents in public housing throughout the city, officials said. DeBlasio intends to first roll the program out in a Queens housing project by 2016, then bring the Red Hook Houses online sometime after that, he said.

The city plans to hand each unit in the housing development its own mobile wifi device from telecommunications company Sprint. The residents should then be able to surf the information superhighway at speeds of 25 megabits per second — the federally mandated minimum for classifying a connection as “broadband” and the minimum recommended speed for watching Netflix in “ultra high-definition” quality.

But it isn’t about viewing “House of Cards” without buffering breaks, say local officials — internet access is something all New Yorkers need for education and job-hunting, and the free wifi will ensure that the 6,500 people living in the Red Hook Houses aren’t left behind in the digital age.

“The truth is that internet access is not a luxury of the rich, but a necessity of the many,” said Councilman Carlos Menchaca (D–Red Hook). “Low-income residents should not be paying premium prices for this important service.”

People in public areas and streets near the Red Hook Houses will also be able to access the no-fee network, which will include privacy protections and parental controls, said mayoral counsel Maya Wiley.

And when the city finally flips the switch, Reed says the connection will complement a free wifi network that he and other members of community group the Red Hook Initiative have been building on the neighborhood’s streets since 2012.

“It would be great if they linked up with the Red Hook Wifi,” said Reed, who also works for the Red Hook Initiative and has been building the ad-hoc local network for seven months. “Right now the connection we have is on outer skirts of the houses.”

But the city has yet to find a contractor to set up the infrastructure for the project, so it is not yet clear whether third-party networks like the Red Hook Initiative’s will be able to link up with internet in the public housing complex, a mayoral spokesman said.

Reach reporter Max Jaeger at or by calling (718) 260–8303. Follow him on Twitter @JustTheMax.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Rufus Leaking from BH says:
Free Porn for the masses! Thank you comrades!
July 20, 2015, 6:08 am
Charles from Bklyn says:
Enough with the porn jokes. This is a great idea, and hopefully, free internet access will assist low income New Yorkers and open new opportunities in their lives.
July 20, 2015, 8:29 am
Common Cents from Crown Heights says:
City libraries already offer free internet access including wifi, they also have "given" out hundreds of personal mifi devices for loans of a year (same program listed above). When will the mayor and city council address real issues such as the amount of shootings occurring in the city? We've had 13 people shot between Friday and Monday in Brooklyn alone, including a double homicide and quadruple shooting.
July 20, 2015, 10:43 am
Tyler from pps says:
Hmm.... Common Cents doesn't see the connection between education/access/opportunity and the city's "real" issues. Color me surprised!
July 20, 2015, 11:43 am
Tyler from pps says:
By the way -- are we all tired of people like Common Cents who project their own inabilities on others? Just because the city is doing X, it doesn't mean the rest of things folks are working on has ground to a halt! Ugggh.

The city is sponsoring an event in the park.... Oh No! But what about building inspections! What about the pot holes!!
July 20, 2015, 11:46 am
Common Cents from Crown Heights says:
Once again the Prospect Park troll Tyler shows up to comment on someone else's comment. You really need to get a life, or is trolling your life? As stated libraries already provide this service, and everyone in Brooklyn is in walking distance to a library, and those that can't make it to one can have items delivered to them. But I think he may have a personal interest in this program because when he is put out of his illegally subdivided house he may end up in the PJs.
July 20, 2015, 12:52 pm
Troll Hunter from Prospect Park says:
The shootings in the city have more to do with a total lack of regard for human life than it does with "education/access/opportunity". There are people all over the world with less opportunity but they aren't going around shooting each other. Maybe come from under the bridge and look around. The city is full of opportunity if you choose to take it, free education, free programs, free meals even. And to make matters worse these people aren't shooting each other because they need money to pay bills or put food on the table.
July 20, 2015, 1:30 pm
Common Cents from Crown Heights says:
And by the way, many housing residents don't understand why they are getting free wifi access but still have to deal with repairs that aren't being made, garbage that isn't being picked up, leaky roofs and rampant nightly violence to name a few
July 20, 2015, 2:57 pm
Tyler from pps says:
Well, Common Cents, I'm very happy you're so confident in your view of the world. You, Rufus Leaking and Tal Barzilai should all move in together.
July 20, 2015, 3:01 pm
Rufus Leaking from BH says:
Speaking of "Free" we live rent free in your head!
July 20, 2015, 3:16 pm
Common Cents from Crown Heights says:
Lol @Tyler well If we did move in together it wouldn't be in an illegal subdivided house like you and your 'roommates'
July 20, 2015, 7:38 pm
Boris from Borough Park says:
This is a much needed improvement. The majority of residents will be able to upload their rap videos and lyrics, and the few with ambition will be able to do something productive.
July 20, 2015, 8:38 pm
bkmanhatman from nubrucklyn says:
Yeah! Free wifi for all!
July 20, 2015, 8:51 pm
Matt from Greenpoint says:
Interesting, as I have to pay for my wifi.
Oh well, at least they won't be wacking it in the libraries anymore.
July 21, 2015, 3:18 pm
Tyler from pps says:
All you jerkoffs do know that folks like Sonia Sotomayor and Ursula Burns came from the projects right?
July 21, 2015, 6:32 pm
Nikki from TamTam says:
um, it's kinda true. almost always a young man of the stooopid pants genre can be spotted watching either action films, sitcoms, rap videos andor porn at the libraries.
July 21, 2015, 10:39 pm
What the heck from Brooklyn says:
How about high speed internet in the Department of Labor Offices or Workforce Centers. Dept of Labor really needs to be investigated on so many levels with political hacks like Regional Director Stephen Wilkenson employed in the office doing nothing on a daily basis.
July 22, 2015, 9:47 am

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