Ladies and Gentlemen of the Broadband Advisory Committee and Members and Staff of the New York City Council, I would like to thank you for inviting me here today to provide my testimony and provide what I hope is useful guidance on the issue of broadband availability and uptake in New York City. I hope to speak to you today about two things: one, about NYCwireless as an organization and the work that we do, and two, about the vision that we share for building a ubiquitous, affordable high-speed internet access infrastructure that will become a shining example of a truly 21st century city.
As an organization, we were founded in early 2001 by some enterprising technology enthusiasts who, in their spare time, wondered about how they could use this new technology called 802.11 and share it with their neighbors. They took an access point and hung it out their window, to see if they could receive a signal on their laptop from next door. Upon successfully connecting to their home internet connection from their neighbor’s place, they began to think big, about what would happen if more people on their block had Wi-Fi access points, and everyone that had a laptop could connect with each other via wireless signals and communicate in ways that were previously unimaginable.
Since those early days, we’ve grown as an organization. We were one of the inventors of the phenomena of Community Wireless. We were the first group to light up a public space at Tompkins Square park. We assisted struggling software companies regain access to the internet in downtown Manhattan after 9/11. We were the first to bring public Wi-Fi to the forefront when we lit up Bryant Park in 2002, and we continue to this day to build free Wi-Fi in city parks and public spaces.
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