Thu. Jun 8th, 2023

CROWN HEIGHTS, Brooklyn (PIX11) — The internet connects people to the world. But many families in the city have trouble getting online. It’s called the digital divide.

A new technology partnership is helping to bridge the gap, and Grandmaster Flash helped unveil the facility in Crown Heights on Wednesday, called the Brooklyn Gigabit Center.

As an artist who helped shape the sound of hip-hop, he said technology is key.

“I remember being a Shorty and not having these advantages,” he said.

The city has partnered with the organization Digital Girl, Inc, which focuses on encouraging youth, especially young girls, to pursue careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math).

“We are thankful to be a part of this and to bring high-speed Internet, so they know it’s not a luxury, it’s a necessity,” said Michelle Gall, the organization’s founder.

This technology center is free and open to the public. It’s on the 3rd floor of the Major R. Owens Health and Wellness Center.

The former armory is located on Bedford Avenue and was reopened in October 2021. It has a gym and a swimming pool. Classes are offered on various topics, including at the new tech center.

It’s also a partnership with LinkNYC. That’s the free city-wide network that has connected more than 11 million people to Wi-Fi and phone calls.

The city said more than 11% of NYC students lack adequate access to Wi-Fi outside of school, and 1 in 3 households lack a home or mobile broadband. 

In Crown Heights, where the center is located, the city reports 36% of households to lack broadband.

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