Eviction moratoriums effectively required landlords to provide free housing to non-paying tenants during the pandemic. In New York City, landlords might soon have to provide free internet services as well.
A new bill introduced by New York City Council Member Ben Kallos would require the owners of buildings with 10 or more units to provide their tenants with free broadband internet service.
"We can finally end the digital divide and bridge the homework gap by making sure every apartment in New York City comes with Internet," said Kallos in a statement. "You can't get a vaccine if you can't get online to schedule or even find an appointment, this pandemic has shown that the Internet is now a necessity."
A press release from Kallos' office cites a 2020 Citizen's Committee of Children report finding that 500,000 households in the city have no internet access.
His bill gives building owners the option of directly contracting with a broadband internet service provider or connecting each unit via ethernet cable to the internet. Owners would also have to install the wiring and ethernet ports necessary to provide that internet service in each unit.
Cable installers who spoke with Reason declined to provide ballpark figures for how much this might cost building owners, citing the large number of factors that could influence a project's cost.
The home remodeling cost website Fixr estimates that installing the kind of cable required by Kallos' bill would cost up to $6,000 in an existing single-family home. The costs of installing it in a larger building would likely be much higher.