Community Tech New York (CTNY) believes that building community networks builds community power. Since 2011, we have collaborated with local organizations in NYC, New York State, and a few other US sites to create community-owned internet infrastructure. Our approach is grounded in the Detroit Digital Justice principles of access, participation, common ownership, and healthy communities.
In New York City, 29% of households do not have a broadband subscription at home. 18% of residents – more than 1.5 million New Yorkers – have neither a mobile connection nor a home broadband connection. Almost half of households living in poverty do not have broadband at home, and households living in poverty might need to spend as much as 10% of their monthly budget to have a home broadband connection and a single mobile connection.
New York is not alone - the picture is similar in most US cities and towns.
CTNY believes that everyone deserves the right to make their own decisions about how they live their digital lives. No one should be shut out of access to basic necessities like education or health care because they don’t have access to a broadband connection at home.
We work on building long term relationships in line with a community’s social infrastructure rather than offering short-term tech solutions. We don't come into a neighborhood, build a WiFi network, and leave–we support groups building out their own networks suited to holistic community needs, created with shared principles, and maintained for generations.
We are both consultants and educators, working with organizations to co-design and co-build infrastructure that supports resilience, equity, and self-determination as well as conducting applied research on broadband initiatives for grounded policy analysis and program evaluation. As educators, we demystify technology using tools like the Portable Network Kit (PNK), a DIY wifi network in a suitcase designed and developed by our team.
CTNY is a member of the Community Technology Collective (CTC), an emergent network of organizations dedicated to digital justice, community technology, and digital stewardship. Community Tech New York (CTNY) and the Detroit Community Technology Project (DCTP) are founding members of CTC and sponsored projects of Allied Media Projects. We are building and supporting healthy, resilient digital ecosystems rooted in community needs by sharing community technology practices, teaching tools, and project support. The CTC is part of an international movement for consentful, resilient, equitable community-governed communications infrastructure. We support sustainable community ownership of data and technology and cultivate the long-term stewardship of neighborhood technologies that support health, well-being, and access to opportunity.
CTNY is Greta Byrum, Raul Enriquez, Houman Saberi, Monique Tate, Ever Bussey, Erica Kermani, Kathy Fall, and Anh Le.
The Bronx Community Foundation
The Detroit Community Technology Project
Kounkuey Design Initiative
The National Digital Inclusion Alliance
Parsons DESIS Lab
Philly Community Wireless Network
THE POINT CDC
The Southern Connected Communities Project
The Western New York Digital Equity Initiative
(led by the John R. Oishei Foundation with CTNY)
Brown Institute for Media Innovation at Columbia Journalism School
The Ford Foundation
The John R. Oishei Foundation
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
The New York Community Trust
Bronx Community Foundation
Ruha Benjamin (emeritus)
As founding members of Community Tech Collective and sponsored projects of Allied Media Projects, Community Tech New York (CTNY) and the Detroit Community Technology Project (DCTP) share this advisory board.