Dear Members and Friends of the WCA,
We wanted you to see a copy of Bill Mooney’s Community View posted today on lohud.com:
Amazon recently set off a frenzy when it announced that it was issuing an RFP to establish a location for its second hub. “HQ2,” as it’s called, needs a location with at least 1 million people; that is within 30 minutes of a major metropolitan area; that has proximity to an international airport and a network of highways and mass transit; that is near multiple colleges and universities that would provide its future workforce; and that has “the presence and support of a diverse population.”
The RFP also is seeking a downtown or suburban development site that could house its future campus (and the 50,000-plus people it would employ).
Sound like it should be Westchester? You bet.
Clearly, the growth of Amazon and other such companies is leading them to seek more space and access. This presents great opportunity for Westchester. But can we attract these companies here?
On the face of it, we have the features they are seeking, plus a great lifestyle, good schools, diverse communities, and a few million square feet of available inventory. To be even more competitive, we will need great incentives from New York State and our local communities. But it will take one other thing: the right digital infrastructure. Not having super-speed connectivity could make or break future deals. So, if we want to attract these tech giants, we need to step up to the plate, and that means updating our fiber networks to accommodate gigabit-speed internet.
Since then, we’ve rolled up our sleeves, done considerable research, and met with providers and business groups. What we’ve learned is that upgrading our digital infrastructure doesn’t have to take years, not with 5g wireless deployment made possible by transmitters the size of frisbees, which can be placed on rooftops and telephone poles. It can take just months, provided we work together to make it happen.
If Westchester aspires to become a key part of America’s digital economy, the time is now to start putting that infrastructure in place. In doing so, we will be able to spur business development, create jobs, and attract R&D investment. As tech industries are what’s driving the new wave of economic development, we need to reinvent how we do business and we need to think big.
Hopefully, Westchester and New York State will reply to Amazon’s RFP. Whether we become Amazon’s future home remains to be seen. But this I know: there will be more Amazons coming. The time is now to upgrade our digital infrastructure. In a fast-growing global digital economy, super-speed broadband is a key ingredient for prosperity.
Westchester, it’s time to take your shot.