Tag Archives: Policy

Community Broadband Hearing at Columbia University on Dec. 11

UPDATE: This is a Community Broadband Hearing by Columbia University, not an FCC Field Hearing. Sorry for the confusion!

Friend Bruce Lincoln, Entrepreneur in Residence at Columbia Engineering’s Center for Technology, Innovation & Community Engagement, sent us an invite for a Community Broadband Hearing taking place next Friday, December 11 at Columbia. I’m planning to attend, and suggest those of you that fill the different roles outlined below attend as well.

If you are planning on attending, leave a comment so we can find you!

It is important that members of the local community have an opportunity to participate in the National Broadband Planning process which is currently underway in Washington.

Toward that end, I invite you to participate in an FCC Field Hearing on Friday, December 11, 2009 at Columbia University in New York. The meeting will be held in Davis Auditorium from 8:45 am until noon.

The field hearing will bring together policymakers, elected officials, not-for-profit organizations, small businesses, anchor institutions, public agencies, broadband providers, foundations, community-based organizations and community leaders, academicians, and researchers. Together we will share thoughts on how collectively we can ensure all New Yorkers have access to broadband and the educational, economic and social opportunities it can provide.

I hope you will be able to attend as a representative of your organization or constituency. To fully understand the importance of broadband access from all points of view, your participation is vital. The agenda includes a “community visioning session” where you will have an opportunity to share your thoughts, ideas, and concerns with the group.

You can confirm your attendance via e-mail to bl2317@columbia.edu.

Agenda

Friday, December 11, 2009
Davis Auditorium, Columbia University
8 am-noon

8:00 Registration and Breakfast
8:45 Welcome (Bruce Lincoln, Columbia Engineering)
8:50 Opening Remarks (Dean, Feniosky Pena-Mora, Columbia Engineering)
9:00 “An Overview of the New York State Broadband Vision and Strategy” (Edward Reinfurt, Executive Director, New York State Foundation for Science, Technology and Innovation, NYSTAR)
9:30 “Vision of New York City’s Broadband Future” (Gale Brewer, Chair, Committee on Technology and Government, New York City Council)
9:40 Short Break
9:45 Practitioners Panel Session
10:15 Audience Q&A
10:30 Community Visioning Session
11:30 Wrap-up
12:00 Adjournment

Response to City Wireless Internet Access for New York City Parks and Other Open Spaces (DoITT RFI)

NYCwireless submitted this response to the DoITT RFI City Wireless Internet Access for New York City Parks and Other Open Spaces” (PIN: 85809RFI0045) [PDF].

Download PDF Version

RFI Response to City Wireless Internet Access for New York City Parks and Other Open Spaces

Prepared by:

Dana Spiegel, Executive Director, NYCwireless
Rob Kelley and Anthony Townsend, Executive Board Members

Overview

NYCwireless is a non-profit organization that advocates and enables the growth of free, public wireless internet access in New York City and surrounding areas. Founded in 2001, NYCwireless serves thousands of individuals throughout the New York City metro area through the dozens of hotspots installed in NYC Parks, Public Spaces, and Affordable Housing Buildings.

Over the past several years, NYCwireless has built free, public wireless networks in dozens of New York City parks and open spaces through partnerships with local organizations such as the Bryant Park Restoration Corporation and Madison Square Park Conservancy and business improvement districts such as the Alliance for Downtown New York. These include hotspots in Bryant Park, Madison Square Park, Wagner Park, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Jackson Square Park, Stuyvesant Cove Park (the first fully solar powered hotspot in New York), Tompkins Square Park, Bowling Green Park, City Hall Park, the South Street Seaport, the Winter Garden, the Atrium at 60 Wall Street, Stone Street, Wall Street Park, and the Vietnam Veterans Plaza, among others.

NYCwireless also assists under-served communities in getting affordable internet access. NYCwireless works with Dunn Development Corporation and Community Access, a non-profit housing organization, to train volunteers and building residents to build and maintain wireless networks in Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Bronx. The networks provide 8 buildings with more than 50 residents per building with private, high-speed wireless connections.

According to a survey by NYCwireless Board Member Laura Forlano, Wi-Fi is a factor in attracting people to specific locations throughout the city for 70% of those surveyed. These findings have potential implications for economic development and support the rationale that WiFi may enable commerce and productivity that would not have occurred otherwise. For example, one respondent commutes 20 minutes from Queens to use the Bryant Park wireless network on weekends in order to work on his food and wine website outside rather than at home.

At NYCwireless, we’ve worked with many local leaders. Some of them are BIDs like the Downtown Alliance or public benefit corporations like the Battery Park City Authority. Some are local developers, like the one we’re working with in the West Village who transformed a park and part of a neighborhood from being a place for homeless people to being a place for families and children. These local leaders have transformed their communities, and helped us bring internet to the people. Unfortunately so many more come to us with visions of helping out their neighborhood, but don’t have the funds to make it happen. While NYCwireless provides a very low cost option for building public Wi-Fi, its not without installation and maintenance cost. And many of the local leaders we’ve spoken to have no current means to get the funding they need to build and create local broadband. In speaking with them, we know that with just enough funding, these people too could change their communities, and bring whole neighborhoods online. Funding must be injected into local communities in order to provide resources for these leaders to do their work.
Continue reading Response to City Wireless Internet Access for New York City Parks and Other Open Spaces (DoITT RFI)

Video of Has Divestiture Worked? A 25th Anniversary Assessment of the Break Up of AT&T now online

This is a little late, but the video of the presentations for the “Has Divestiture Worked? A 25th Anniversary Assessment of the Break Up of AT&T” event at which I presented is now available online.

The embedded video is from session 3, and the discussion about NYCwireless happens between 25:00 and 38:00.

http://www.youtube-nocookie.com/v/KUmZs9IEQV4&hl=en&fs=1&rel=0

Thanks to ISOC for getting these videos online!

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

FCC Votes to Open TV White Spaces for Unlicensed Use

Lost in the (understandably) overwhelming media coverage about the new President of the United States, the FCC has voted to open “white spaces” between TV channels to unlicensed use. This is a big decision that will lead to more open devices and a big push for extending wireless internet access to areas where the internet was previously unavailable or limited.

NYCwireless supports this FCC decision, and we look forward to making use of white space devices to help bring more internet to all areas of New York City. You can read about it in the New York Times and Ars Technica.

NY City Council Hearing: The Regulation and Use of the Unallocated Portion of the Radio Spectrum, Also Known as White Spaces on Sep 28 @ 10am

The New York City Council is holding a hearing on “The Regulation and Use of the Unallocated Portion of the Radio Spectrum, Also Known as White Spaces” on Monday, September 28th @ 10am in the Committee Room at City Hall. I will be there presenting on behalf of NYCwireless. We need as many people as we can get to attend and support us.

Here’s a press release from Josh Breitbart and Free Press about the hearing:

Groups Call on NYC to Open Public Airwaves to New Technology

City Council should embrace ‘white spaces’ and bring high-speed Internet to all New Yorkers

NEW YORK — Community media, public interest and immigrant rights advocates are calling on the New York City Council to endorse “white spaces” technology that could boost the economy and drive down the cost of mobile phone calls and Internet access.

White spaces are the unused portions of the public airwaves between television channels. According to a study conducted by Free Press, one-fifth of New York City’s television channels are currently not being used. New technology can use this vacant spectrum to send powerful, high-speed Internet signals — connecting New Yorkers to a fast, open and affordable Internet.

“Opening the white spaces would close the digital divide, and it wouldn’t cost us a dime — or, rather, it would save us a lot more than a dime on what we’re paying now for Internet access and cell phone service,” said Joshua Breitbart, policy director of People’s Production House.

The Federal Communications Commission is currently considering whether to open up the white spaces to the public. Engineers at the FCC, through extensive testing, have shown that low-power, mobile devices can utilize white spaces to connect to the Internet without interfering with TV broadcasts and wireless microphones on adjacent channels.

Lobbyists from the National Association of Broadcasters, cell phone carriers and wireless microphone companies have launched a misinformation campaign to prevent white spaces from being used to provide high-speed broadband access.

“Unfortunately, many key decision-makers simply lack the bandwidth to investigate the benefits of white spaces technology,” said Timothy Karr, campaign director of Free Press. “Instead they hear misinformation from industry lobbyists who come knocking with lies and spin meant to paint this technology as a danger to humanity.”

A draft resolution currently before the City Council, sponsored by Councilmember Gale Brewer and Speaker Christine Quinn, claims white space devices would be “devastating” to Broadway productions. The City Council Committee on Technology in Government is holding a hearing on the resolution on Monday, Sept. 29, 2008, at 10 a.m., in the Committee Room of City Hall. It is a public forum where anyone can testify.

“White spaces could provide an affordable alternative for people like me who use expensive phone cards to call family and friends back home in other countries,” said Abdulai Bah of Nah We Yone, a community group that advocates for African refugees in New York.