“In this day and age, high-quality internet service is a necessity, not a luxury,” said NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio when he announced this month a major milestone in the city’s effort to bring new internet connectivity options to its residents.
“By investing in broadband infrastructure” the mayor declared, “we drive forward a recovery for all of us – both by delivering much-needed resources to NYCHA families and making significant progress on our commitment to close the city’s digital divide.”
Five ISP’s (Internet Service Providers) were awarded executed license agreements to bring this into being. Silicon Harlem and its CEO, Clayton Banks, received one of these coveted licenses.
“Silicon Harlem applauds New York City for taking a bold Broadband commitment to ensure everyone is connected,” Clayton said in acknowledging the contract.
“We must continue to break down barriers to broadband access for lower-income communities, knowing that doing so will enable multiple generations of all New Yorkers to become more fully engaged in the world. Silicon Harlem is thrilled to provide new and innovative ways to deliver the internet to every home without having cost being a barrier,” he added.
It was a long and winding road that brought Clayton to this high point.
From growing up on military bases where his Marine Corps father was stationed to graduating from a California state university with a double major in communications and business administration to landing his first job at Showtime and becoming an executive there, working at Sega Channel, on to Comedy Central where he teamed up to launch South Park, an entrepreneur stint in technology and finally starting Silicon Harlem (SH) in 2014. Phew!
In the years since Clayton has taken this dream of an educational and data center and brought it into reality. At this point, SH is recognized as a major center for uptown technology and innovation.
Thanks to Ted Schulman, one of LRT’s co-creators, a meeting was arranged between Clayton and Jerry Ashton in the spring of 2021. They realized they shared the same vision – a world in which technology would become the sustainable engine of community.
Clayton set about to open a presence on the LRT site and the two looked for other ways in which to attract the attention – and the capital – that would be required to help fund the task of installing broadband and other services in Harlem and beyond.
The fruit of that collaboration is the very first LRT “Rethinking” Hero realized in a comic panel featuring Clayton as a Hero in his community. The strip was created by another LRT discovery, Victor Guiza of Mexico City who brings to the table a long and successful career as an illustrator and comic strip artist. Even that introduction was created by an LRT co-creator, Cary Harrison who is Vic’s agent and himself a successful radio personality.
All of this, discovery, revealing, and propelling people to unexpected successes exemplifies the LRT main drivers to bring attention to our featured partners and communities: Searchlight. Spotlight. Ignite.
Per our formula, Clayton and Silicon Harlem have been searched out and now in the spotlight…can Ignition be far behind? Stay tuned. This story is a page-turner.