NYC Broadband Advisory Committee Public Hearing in Manhattan

On Wednesday, December 12th, 2007 from 1-4pm, the NYC Broadband Advisory Committee will be holding a meeting at the Manhattan School of Music, Greenfield Hall, 120 Claremont Avenue at 122 Street, New York, NY 10027 If you live or work in Manhattan, you should attend this meeting. NYCwireless will be there, representing our work building free, public Wi-Fi.

From Kunal Malhotra, Director of Legislation & Budget, Office of Council Member Gale A. Brewer:

Coming on the heels of successful public hearings in the Bronx and Brooklyn where hundreds of people attended, the New York City Broadband Advisory Committee will hear from policy experts and Manhattan residents and business people in a Public Meeting of the Broadband Advisory Committee in Manhattan. 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, 27% 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.”

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 Manhattan is the third in a series of five being convened in every borough. Queens and Staten Island hearings are scheduled for early 2008.