Event: Has Divestiture Worked? A 25th Anniversary Assessment of the Break Up of AT&T

This announcement comes from our friend Bruce Kushnick, who’s one of the people putting on this excellent event. “Divestiture” and “Structural Separation” is something that NYCwireless has been fighting for almost since we started, since Verizon and AT&T’s vertically-integrated monopolies make it very hard for us to do some of the work that we do (and sometimes impossible). We hope lots of you come to the event, even if just to learn about what this stuff is all about!

DATE: FRIDAY, MARCH 6th, 2009 TIME: 6PM-9PM
LOCATION: New York University, Warren Weaver Hall (251 Mercer), Room 109
PRICE:  ADMISSION IS FREE. (RSVP requested, rsvp@bway.net )

In 1984, AT&T, then the largest company in the U.S., was broken up because of the monopoly controls “Ma Bell” had over telecommunications. Known as “Divestiture”, we have reached the 25th anniversary of the AT&T breakup and it is time to look carefully and critically at the deregulation of telecommunications to evaluate the effectiveness of this important economic policy.

Open Infrastructure Alliance, (OIA) together with the Internet Society, (ISOC) New York chapter, is convening a series of panels to dialog on the deregulation of the telecommunications industry. Among the key issues to be considered are:

  • Has divestiture worked? A careful examination of the consequences of divestiture and deregulation over the last 25 years.
  • America is ranked 15th in the world in broadband. What role does America’s closed broadband networks (e.g., Verizon’s FiOS and AT&T’s U-Verse) play in such a ranking? Do closed networks fulfill last mile requirements of the Telecom Act of 1996?
  • The Obama administration and Congress have put together a massive economic stimulus package, including broadband infrastructure projects. Does this new legislation address the major issues or are other steps necessary?

The dialogue will assess whether deregulation has helped or harmed America’s digital future. What role should a new, reconstituted FCC play? What policies and programs are needed to make America #1 again in technology, broadband and the Internet?

Confirmed Speakers: (More to Come)

  • Tom Allibone, LTC Consulting
  • Jonathan Askin, Esq, Brooklyn Law School
  • Dave Burstein, DSL Prime
  • Frank A. Coluccio, Cirrant Partners Inc
  • Mark Cooper, Consumer Federation of America
  • Alex Goldman, ISP Planet
  • Fred Goldstein, Ionary Consulting
  • Bruce Kushnick, New Networks Institute
  • Dean Landsman, Landsman Communications Group
  • Scott McCollough, Esq.
  • Joe Plotkin, Bway.net
  • David Rosen, Consultant

Market:

  • A 25 year analysis of the Age of the Bell companies.
  • How did America become 15th in the world in broadband?
  • What is the role of the cable and phone companies?
  • What happened to the price of phone service?
  • Is wireless overtaking wireline services?

Regulation:

  • Has deregulation helped or harmed the America’s digital future?
  • How do we deal with corporate controls over the FCC, or should we scrap the FCC?
  • How do we fund and create open, ubiquitous, high-speed networks?
  • What should happen next with wireless services?
  • What is the status of competition today, and what needs to be changed for the future?
  • What applications are going to drive the next generation?
  • Is it time for another divestiture or other regulatory changes?

For More Information:
Joe Plotkin
T: 646-502-9796
E: bwayjoe@bway.net
Internet Society, NY Chapter
E: president@isoc-ny.org

NYC Broadband Advisory Committee Public Hearing in Staten Island

Its been quite some time since the last Broadband Advisory Committee Meeting, but the final meeting, taking place in Staten Island, has finally been scheduled. We hope to see many of you on Thursday, March 5, 2009 from 11am-3pm @ CUNY College of Staten Island (Building 1P):

Broadband Committee holds Public Meeting on Staten Island’s Broadband Connectivity

WHO: New York City Council Member Gale A. Brewer, the Broadband Advisory Committee, Staten Island public school students, CUNY College of Staten Island professors and their classes, parents, nonprofit leaders, small business owners and senior centers
WHEN: Thursday, March 5, 2008, 11am-3pm
WHERE: CUNY College of Staten Island (Building 1P)
Recital Hall, The Center for the Arts
2800 Victory Boulevard
Staten Island, NY 10314
BLOG: http://nycbroadband.blogspot.com/ 

Coming on the heels of successful public hearings in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens where hundreds of people attended, the New York City Broadband Advisory Committee will hear from policy experts, Staten Island residents and business people in a Public Meeting of the Broadband Advisory Committee in Staten Island. During this official hearing on the borough’s Broadband status, the City Council seeks to answer the following questions: How important is affordable Broadband to businesses and to under–served communities? How will high–speed Internet connections improve the quality of life for all New Yorkers and their families?

“New York is the most dynamic city in the world. But when it comes to the Internet, we’re working to catch up to other jurisdictions,” said Council Member Brewer, Chair of the New York City Council’s Committee on Technology in Government. Brewer sponsored Local Law 126, which created the NYC Broadband Advisory Committee. “I am excited to work with the Mayor’s Office in making New York a place where you don’t have to pay to go slow. We need affordable high–speed Internet connections to bring in jobs, help schools, and make the city safer.”

According to the Pew Internet and American Life Project in May 2008 Survey, 32% of American households are still not using the Internet at all and “those with less education, those with lower household incomes, and Americans age 65 and older are less likely to have embraced broadband than those who are younger and have higher socio–economic status.” Seeking to address these same imbalances, Broadband Advisory Committee Chairperson, Shaun Belle, and CEO of Mount Hope Housing Company said, “Understanding the challenges to Broadband connectivity for the average New Yorker is a primary focus of the Broadband Advisory Committee; exploring and potentially implementing solutions to address these challenges will be the basis of our future planning.”

Andrew Rasiej, an Advisory Committee Member and the Founder of the Personal Democracy Forum and MOUSE said, “These hearings are critical to focusing broad political attention and building consensus for the need to guarantee all New Yorkers an opportunity to participate in the 21st Century economy.” As of February 2009, President Obama’s stimulus plan includes $7 billion in broadband infrastructure development to ensure the American economy is competitive in the long run.

The New York Broadband Advisory Committee was created by Local Law 126, a bill sponsored by Council Member Gale Brewer. The purpose of the Committee is to advise the Mayor and the City Council on how to bring affordable high–speed Internet connection to all New York City residents, nonprofit organizations and businesses. The public hearing in Staten Island is the final in a series of five being convened in every borough. The Committee will compile their recommendations to the Mayor at the conclusion of this hearing.

NEW YORK CITY COUNCIL TECHNOLOGY IN GOVERNMENT COMMITTEE MEMBERS

Council Member Gale A. Brewer, Chair, Manhattan, District 6
Council Member Bill de Blasio, Brooklyn, District 39
Council Member Letitia James, Brooklyn, District 35
Council Member Oliver Koppell, Bronx, District 11
Council Member James Sanders, Jr., Brooklyn, District 31

BROADBAND ADVISORY COMMITTEE MEMBERS

Mayoral Representatives

Shaun M. Belle — Broadband Advisory Committee Chair, President and CEO, Mount Hope Housing Company
Mitchel Ahlbaum — General Counsel and Deputy Commissioner for Telecommunications Services, DoITT
Thomas A. Dunne — Vice President of Government Relations, Fordham University, Former Vice President of Public Affairs at Verizon
Avi Duvdevani — Chief Information Officer/Deputy General Manager, NYCHA
John J. Gilbert III — Executive Vice President/ Chief Operating Officer, Rudin Management Company
Howard Szarfarc — President, Time Warner Cable of New York and New Jersey
Anthony Townsend — Research Director, Institute for the Future

City Council Representatives

David Birdsell — Dean, Graduate School of Public Affairs, Baruch College, City University of New York
Neil Pariser — Senior Vice President, South Bronx Overall Economic Development Corp.
Andrew Rasiej — Founder of MOUSE, Former candidate for Public Advocate of New York City
Jose Rodriguez — President and Founder, Hispanic Information and Telecommunications Network
David Wicks — Founding Partner, Alwyn Group, Former Cablevision executive, Wall Street investment banker
Elisabeth Stock — President and Co–Founder, Computers for Youth
Nicholas Thompson — Senior Editor, WIRED Magazine

For more information or to testify please contact Kunal Malhotra with the Office of Council Member Gale A. Brewer at 212-788-6975 or Kunal.Malhotra@council.nyc.gov