Category Archives: Policy

FCC Consumer Advisory Committee Summary Information

NYCwireless, along with a number of other public interest organizations, is part of the FCC’s Consumer Advisory Committee. If you are interested in following the work that we do, the meetings are open to the public and are also broadcast online.

The Benton Foundation, an organization that NYCwireless works with on the Committee, is posting regular updates on the meetings, which you can use to get summaries of what is happening:

HR 2726 (Rep. Pete Sessions) Bill Banning Muni-Networks Nationwide

A bill just introduced in Congress would take away the right of cities and towns across the country to provide citizens with universal, low-cost Internet access.

Giant cable and telephone companies don’t want any competition–which might actually force them to offer lower prices, higher speeds and service to rural and urban areas.

U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas)–a former telephone company executive–has introduced a bill (HR 2726) that would let cable and telecom companies shut down municipal and community efforts to offer broadband services.

You can stop this outrageous bill. Send a message to your representative now at

No less than the future of all communications is at stake. In a few years, television, telephone, radio and the Web will be accessed through a high-speed internet connection. Low-cost alternatives to telephone (DSL) and cable monopolies are emerging across the country, as cities, towns, nonprofits and community groups build low-cost “Community Internet” and municipal broadband systems.

Companies like SBC, Verizon and Comcast have been introducing laws state by state that would prohibit municipal broadband, undercut local control and prevent competition. But we’ve been fighting back–and winning.

An alliance of public interest groups, local officials, high-tech innovators and organized citizens have defeated anti-municipal broadband measures in nine of the 13 states where they’ve been introduced this year.

What the industry couldn’t pass in the states, they’re trying to push through in Washington. Sessions’ bill–the “Preserving Innovation in Telecom Act” (an Orwellian title if there ever was one)–would prevent state and local governments from providing “any telecommunications service, information service or cable service” anywhere a corporation offers a similar service.

Congressman Sessions worked for telephone giant SBC for 16 years, and his wife currently serves as a director of Cingular Wireless, an SBC subsidiary. SBC and its employees have been Sessions’ second-biggest career patron, pouring more than $75,000 into his campaign coffers.

We can stop this legislation and send a clear message to Congress that local communities–not the giant telephone and cable companies–should determine their own communications needs. But you must act now.

Please send a letter opposing HR 2726 at–and forward this message to everyone you know, asking them to do the same.

Maine Becomes First State to Allow Municipalities to Broadband Networks

As reported via MuniWireless, Maine has become the first state to explicitly allow municipalities to create broadband networks. This is a great development for the growth of free choice and locally driven broadband network creation. This is a very progressive stance, and one that is exactly opposite of the restrictive policies of number of other states. Indeed, allowing municipalities to make their own decisions is an important freedom that all local governments should have. Restricting municipal networks serves only the Telecom and Cable companies, and prevents municipal governments from providing important safety, security, and emergency services.

NYCwireless Appointed to FCC Consumer Advisory Committee

FCC Consumer Advisory Committee
Released: March 8, 2005

Members of Consumer Advisory Committee Named; Announcement of Date and Agenda of First Meeting and Future 2005 Meeting Dates

By this Public Notice, the Federal Communications Commission (“Commission”) announces the appointment of members to its Consumer Advisory Committee (“Committee”). The Commission further announces the date and agenda of the Committee’s first meeting as well as future meeting dates in calendar year 2005. On December 14, 2004, the Commission issued a Public Notice announcing the re-chartering of the Committee and solicited applications for membership (see DA 04-3892), as subsequently published in the Federal Register at 69 FR 78024-01, December 29, 2004.

Purpose & Functions

The purpose of the Committee is to make recommendations to the Commission regarding consumer issues within the jurisdiction of the Commission and to facilitate the participation of consumers (including people with disabilities and underserved populations, such as Native Americans and persons living in rural areas) in proceedings before the Commission.

During its two (2) year term, the Committee will address a number of topics including, but not limited to, the following areas:

  • Consumer protection and education (e.g., cramming, slamming, consumer friendly billing, detariffing, bundling of services, Lifeline/Linkup programs, customer service, privacy, telemarketing abuses, and outreach to underserved populations, such as American Indians and persons living in rural areas);
  • Access by people with disabilities (e.g., telecommunications relay services, closed captioning, accessible billing, and access to telecommunications products and services);
  • Impact upon consumers of new and emerging technologies (e.g., availability of broadband, digital television, cable, satellite, low power FM, and the convergence of these and emerging technologies); and
  • Implementation of Commission rules and consumer participation in the FCC rulemaking process.


The Commission received seventy (70) applications for membership on the Committee, from twenty-three (23) states and the District of Columbia. After a careful review of these applications, thirty-five (35) members were appointed to the Committee. Of this number, ten (10) members represent consumer interests; ten (10) members represent disability interests; two (2) members represent the interests of state regulators, two (2) members represent tribal interests and eleven (11) members represent industry interests. The Committee’s slate is designed to be representative of the Commission’s many constituencies, and the expertise and diversity selected will provide a balanced point of view as required by the Federal Advisory Committee Act. In addition, Chairman Michael K. Powell has appointed Shirley L. Rooker, President, Call For Action, as the Committee’s Chairperson and Commissioner Charles Davidson, Florida Public Service Commission, as the Committee’s Vice Chairperson. All appointments are effective immediately and shall terminate November 19, 2006, or when the committee is terminated, whichever is earlier.

The roster of the Committee, as appointed by Chairman Powell, is as follows:

  1. AARP, Debra Berlyn;
  2. Affiliated Tribes of NW Indians, John F. Stensgar;
  3. Alliance for Public Technology, Daniel Phythyon;
  4. Benton Foundation, Charles Benton;
  5. Brugger Consulting, David Brugger;
  6. Call For Action, Shirley L. Rooker (CAC Chairperson);
  7. Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association, Carolyn Brandon;
  8. Community Broadcasters Association, Louis A. Zanoni;
  9. Community Technology Foundation of California, Laura Efurd;
  10. Consumer Electronics Association, Julie M. Kearney;
  11. Consumers First, Inc., Jim Conran;
  12. Deaf and Hard of Hearing Consumer Action Network, Claude Stout;
  13. Florida Public Service Commission, Commissioner Charles Davidson (CAC Vice Chairperson);
  14. Georgia Centers for Advanced Telecommunications Technology, Helena Mitchell;
  15. Hamilton Telephone Company, d/b/a Hamilton Relay Service, Dixie Ziegler;
  16. Ideal Group, Inc., Steve Jacobs;
  17. Inclusive Technologies, Jim Tobias;
  18. International Association of Audio Information Services, George (Mike) Duke;
  19. Rebecca Ladew (representing the interests of users of speech-to-speech technology);
  20. League for the Hard of Hearing, Joseph Gordon;
  21. Media Access Group WGBH, Larry Goldberg;
  22. National Association of Broadcasters, Marsha MacBride;
  23. National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, Commissioner Ron Jones;
  24. National Association of State Relay Administration, Brenda Kelly-Frey;
  25. National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates, Joy M. Ragsdale;
  26. National Cable and Telecommunications Association, Loretta P. Polk;
  27. National Captioning Institute, Joel Snyder;
  28. Nextel Communications, Inc., Kent Y. Nakamura;
  29. NYC Wireless, Laura Forlano;
  30. Mark Pranger (individual with expertise in telecommunications law and policy);
  31. Sprint Corporation, Brent Burpee;
  32. Time Warner, Inc., Tom Wlodkowski;
  33. T-Mobile, Thomas Sugrue;
  34. Verizon Communications, Richard T. Ellis, and
  35. Linda Oliver West (individual representing the interests of the Native American community and other consumers concerned with telecommunications services in rural America).

Meeting Dates

The first meeting of the Committee will take place on Friday, April 29, 2005, 9:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M., at the Commission’s Headquarters Building, Room TW-C305, 445 12th Street, S.W., Washington, DC 20554. Future meetings of the Committee during calendar year 2005 will take place on Friday, July 15th and Friday, November 18th, at the same time and location.

At its April 29, 2005 meeting, the Committee will address matters of internal business and organization, including the establishment of working groups, and will consider various consumer issues within the jurisdiction of the Commission. Meetings are open to the public.

The Committee is organized under, and operates in accordance with the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, 5 U.S.C., App. 2 (1988). Minutes of meetings are available for public inspection at the FCC and are posted on the Commission’s website at Meetings are broadcast on the Internet in Real Audio/Real Video format with captioning at Meetings are sign language interpreted with real-time transcription and assistive listening devices available. Meeting agendas and handout materials are provided in accessible formats. The meeting site is accessible to people with disabilities.

Members of the public may address the Committee or may send written comments to: Scott Marshall, Designated Federal Officer of the Committee.


To request materials in accessible formats for people with disabilities (Braille, large print, electronic files, audio format), send an e-mail to or call the Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau at 202-418-0530 (voice), 202-418-0432 (TTY).

For further information contact: Scott Marshall, Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau, Federal Communications Commission, 202-418-2809 (voice) or 202-418-0179 (TTY), (e-mail).

– FCC –

Gale A. Brewer will talk about NYC Broadband initiatives at ISOC Meeting

NYC Council Member and Chair of New York City Council’s Committee on Technology in Government, Gale A. Brewer will talk about NYC Broadband initiatives at the next Internet Society of New York (ISOC-NY) meeting


Thursday June 16, 2005 (3rd Thursday of the month)
7-9 pm


New York University
5th floor conference room
Pless Hall
82 Washington Square East

All meetings are free and open to the public

Pless Hall is across from Washington Square Park, at corner of Washington Square East and Washington Place (between Waverly and West 4th). Entrance is on Washington Place.

About the New York City Council’s Committee on Technology in Government

The primary goals of the Committee on Technology in Government are (1) to expand digital equality by increasing access to broadband in underserved communities of New York City (2) to increase the strategic use of technology in government, thereby, increasing efficiency in government and enhancing the quality of public services, and (3) to promote the openness and transparency of government by making sure that public information is accessible to every New York City resident. Through its ability to hold oversight hearings over City agencies and introduce and hear legislation, the Committee on Technology in Government works to achieve its goals in partnership with the private, public and nonprofit sectors.

More information about the Committee and the Chair of the Committee, Council Member Gale A. Brewer, can be found at the following link:

All Committee briefing papers from the current session (beginning in January 2004) are also available at this link.