Tag Archives: Policy

Event: How the Internet Works – and how to Protect Freedom Online

This is a great upcoming event, and NYCwireless will be there:

Voterbook Manhattan, the Media and Democracy Coalition, People’s Production House and Free Press invite you to a panel and town hall:

WHEN: Saturday, April 3, 2 p.m.
WHERE: P.S. 20, the Anna Silver School
166 Essex Street, Lower East Side

A town hall discussion and panel about Internet access, what it means in our community, the threats from big cable and phone companies to censor your speech online – and how you can fight back.

PANELISTS:
Kris Rios, media policy associate with People’s Production House
Tim Karr, campaign director with Free Press
Dr. Michael Livermore, director of the NYU School of Law’s Institute for Policy Integrity
… and more!

Free and open to all. We will be screening some of the People’s Production House documentary “The Internet is Serious Business,” taking questions, and having a lively discussion.

For more information and to RSVP, contact Jeff Kurzon at jeffkurzon@gmail.com, or Hannah Miller at hmiller@media-democracy.net or 215-888-8036.

We look forward to seeing you!

Why No One Should Talk To or Read Anything from the Heartland Institute

I had a very interesting email exchange today with Thomas Cheplick, a reporter at the Heartland Institute. For those of you paying attention over the past few years to the Telecom sector, you’ll remember The Heartland Institute as a Sock Puppet Organization that “that call themselves independent but have ties among each other and to the industries about which they are stating they have an objective opinion.”

Apparently, Mr. Cheplick is writing an “article” on the recently announced Miami Beach Free Wi-Fi network. We are certainly in favor of local city governments trying to help local residents and provide a valuable utility, especially when it is used to enable city workers and public safety services to get roaming internet access to better do their jobs and to save the city and taxpayers money.

But Mr. Cheplick’s bias against any such initiative, as well as the bias of his employer, shows through clearly in his initial email requesting NYCwireless comment. He even goes so far as to outright lie about the reasons behind the closure of other Muni-Wi-Fi networks (hint: it has something to do with the fact that the providers of such networks, such as Earthlink and MetroFi, either exited or went out of business). It seems clear to me that whatever Mr. Cheplick writes, its going to be heavily one sided, with a strong slant towards supporting big business and a big slant away from wanting to help local residents help themselves. Something to be aware of in case you come across Mr. Cheplick’s “article”.

Interestingly, I’ve met many conservatives and liberals alike that are big supporters of people and small local governments helping themselves. Its a mystery to me why anyone (unless you are an executive as a large Telco or Cableco) would be against people becoming self-sufficient. But then again, I don’t have an agenda paid for by an incumbent big business.

And yes, Mr. Cheplick, you are correct that “off-the-record” can be a two way street. So perhaps you’ll think twice about being naughty around the holidays. Hopefully, this public post will nicely match the lump of coal that was surely left in your stocking this year.

Continue reading

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

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!