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City Rolls Out “LEED for Broadband” Certification Program for NYC Office Buildings

L week, Mayor Bloomberg announced the launch of WiredNYC, a new building certification program that his office is dubbing “LEED for Broadband.” Developed in a joint effort from various real estate, technology, and telecom industry players, the program will rate the broadband connectivity and infrastructure of – eventually, it hopes – nearly 500 New York City office buildings and aim to continue positioning Gotham as a technology industry hub.

The Wired Certification ratings – from “Connected” through Silver, Gold, and Platinum – will allow tenants to make informed choices about the level of service in those buildings, as well as encourage and accelerate deployment of broadband technologies and create transparency about broadband infrastructure in the commercial real estate market. For landlords, WiredNYC presents an opportunity to market their buildings’ assets to tenants in a fiercely competitive market, particularly for the technology industry companies that continue to fuel much leasing activity.

Jared Kushner, the CEO of Kushner Companies, will supervise the WiredNYC rollout and operate the program, while ten of the city’s largest real estate owners – including Rudin Management, SL Green Realty, Forest City Ratner and Vornado – and over 150 buildings have already signed up – representing approximately 100 million square feet of office space. Each building’s broadband information will be shared publicly through a web platform at WiredScore.com. The program also aims to serve as a template for other cities, and hopes to expand into other markets by the end of 2014.

“If New York City is going remain competitive in the global economy, we must find ways to support the entrepreneurs who are driving technological advances and creating jobs,” said Mayor Bloomberg in a press release. “With these new initiatives, we are making targeted investments to improve our city’s wireless infrastructure and expand Internet access. We’re also measuring how connected our city’s buildings are and sharing that information, so that entrepreneurs are empowered to make the best decisions about where to open a business.”

“Staying connected is critical to success in the 21st Century knowledge economy – whether you are building an office for your tech start-up or trying to take your small business to the next level,” added Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert K. Steel. “The Bloomberg Administration has prioritized connectivity infrastructure so that all New Yorkers can have access to the networks of information that make our economy run. These initiatives move us forward on the path to constant connectivity.”

WiredNYC is just one of the broadband initiatives that the City unveiled last year, including ConnectNYC, a competition to build out fiber connectivity for commercial and industrial buildings across the five boroughs; NYC Broadband Connect Map, a crowd-sourced, dynamic website in which businesses can learn about connectivity availability and capabilities in a given building or neighborhood; Broadband Express, an initiative led by Deputy Mayor Steel in partnership with the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT) and the NYC Department of Transportation, designed to simplify operational issues as well as regulatory hurdles for Internet Service Providers (ISPs); and CitizenConnect, a competition to be led by NYCEDC and DoITT – to develop mobile applications that will help City residents access workforce development opportunities, jobs listings and worker support programs such as childcare, healthcare and transportation.

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