LinkNYC Program Revenues and Monitoring (Follow-Up)

Issued Date
September 26, 2023
Technology and Innovation, New York City Office of


To determine the extent of implementation of the 18 recommendations included in our initial audit report, LinkNYC Program Revenues and Monitoring (Report 2019-N-5).

About the Program

The New York City Office of Technology and Innovation (OTI), formerly the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT), is the technology core of New York City government, working with City agencies and entities, delivering technology, evaluating emerging technologies, and procuring citywide IT services.

In December 2014, the City entered into a Franchise Agreement (Agreement) with a consortium of technology, media, and connectivity providers (Consortium) to develop and operate a first-of-its-kind communications network, LinkNYC, to bring municipal Wi-Fi to millions of New Yorkers, small businesses, and visitors. The LinkNYC program was intended to replace an aging network of public pay telephones with state-of-the-art connection points (Links) that would offer free high-speed Internet access and phone service; a touchscreen tablet interface to access City services, including 911 emergency and NYC311 helpline services; free cell phone charging; and digital advertising and public service announcements.

The Agreement initially called for the Consortium to install and activate 7,500 Links structures throughout the five boroughs over an 8-year period, at no cost to the City, with a specified number to be installed in each borough. The Agreement was subsequently amended in May 2018 to revise the installation period to 10 years and further amended in 2021 to revise the number of structures down to 4,000 to be installed over a 10-year period, with at least 90% to be installed in Manhattan above 96th Street and in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island. The Consortium was also required to meet specific service requirements, including a 45-day time frame between installation and activation, preventive maintenance and repairs, and installation of a maintenance and monitoring system with wide-ranging capability for data collection and reporting.

The objectives of our initial audit, issued July 30, 2021, were to determine whether New York City received all the revenues specified in the contract terms and whether DoITT monitored the contract to ensure that Links were installed and maintained to ensure user privacy and Links availability according to contract terms. The audit covered the period from February 1, 2015 to May 5, 2020. We found that OTI did not sufficiently monitor, oversee, and enforce the Consortium’s compliance with the Agreement terms, including the collection of almost $70 million due to the City from the Consortium; the required number of Links were not installed according to the specified distribution schedules or equitably distributed across the five boroughs; Links were not activated by the stipulated time frames; a Gigabit Center was not established in each of the five boroughs; and liquidated damages were not always assessed and collected for late activation. As a result, our audit identified significant shortfalls, in terms of both revenues to the City and services provided.

Key Finding

We found OTI officials made progress in addressing the issues identified in our initial audit report. Of the initial report’s 18 recommendations, seven were implemented, six were partially implemented, and five were not implemented.

Key Recommendation

Officials are given 30 days after the issuance of this report to provide information on any action planned to address the unresolved issues discussed in this follow-up.

Carmen Maldonado

State Government Accountability Contact Information:
Audit Director: Carmen Maldonado
Phone: (212) 417-5200; Email: [email protected]
Address: Office of the State Comptroller; Division of State Government Accountability; 110 State Street, 11th Floor; Albany, NY 12236