Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Information about the March 30th public hearing in the Bronx.

Sponsored by the Office of Council Member Gale A. Brewer (CD 6 - Manhattan), the Office of Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion, Bronx Community College and the South Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation (SoBRO), the New York City Broadband Advisory Committee will hold its first public hearing on March 30, from 10 am to Noon, Gould Memorial Library Auditorium, Bronx Community College, University Place at W. 181st Street.


The Committee will hear testimony from select elected officials, policy experts and, most importantly, Bronx residents. Council Member Brewer and Borough President Carrion invite all Bronx residents, nonprofit organizations and businesses to testify about the availability and affordability -- or lack of -- of broadband (that is, a high-speed connection to the Internet) in their neighborhoods.

Some questions we would like to get answers to include:

1. Why is a fast affordable Internet connection important to you?
2. What do you consider an "affordable" fee to pay for an high-speed connection to the Internet?
3. If you have a broadband connection, what do you use it for (e.g., help your child do his/her homework)?
4. If don't have broadband or if you had a faster connection to the Internet, what would you use it for (e.g., market your business on-line or look for a job)?

The hearing in the Bronx will kick-off a series of five public hearings that will be convened in every borough of New York City. Based on these hearings and with the help of the New York City Economic Development Corporation, the Advisory Committee will report their findings and recommendations to the Mayor and City Council.

If you cannot make it to the hearing on March 30, we still want to hear from you!You can comment about the issue of broadband in New York City by clicking on the comments link at the bottom of each post and entering your comment in the new window. All comments will be screened first before posting. Or you can mail any questions or comments to Colleen Pagter, Policy Analyst for the Committee on Technology in Government, New York City Council, 250 Broadway, 14th Floor, New York, NY 10007. s

For information regarding the Committee's public hearing schedule, event details and how you might get involved in providing community outreach, please contact Ryan Merola (ryan.merola@gmail.com / 212-788-6975).

For about information about Local Law 126, the Committee and its structure, and broadband policy, please contact Jeff Baker (jeffrey.baker@council.nyc.ny.us / 212-788-9193), Counsel to the Committee on Technology in Government.

If you are a member of the media and would like more information about the Committee and/or the public hearings, please contact Bruce Lai, (bruce.lai@council.nyc.ny.us / 212-788-6975), Chief of Staff to Council Member Gale A. Brewer.

For more information about the Committee on Technology in Government and the Chair of the Committee, Council Member Gale A. Brewer, go to the following links:

• Council Member Gale A. Brewer: http://nyccouncil.info/constituent/member_details.cfm?con_id=28

• Committee on Technology in Government: http://nyccouncil.info/issues/committee.cfm?committee_id=106

Please feel free to circulate, send and/or post information about the Broadband Advisory Committee.


3 comments:

Shaun m. belle said...

Its exciting to be a part of the Broadband Advisory Committee and to see that there is a renewed vigor that not only examines the virtues of the technology but its impact or lack of in traditionally underserved communities in NYC. It is also great to have the first in the series of citywide events commence in the Bronx, where my organization has spent the better part of two and a half years not only bringing low cost broadband to our residents but all also working closely with them to embrace the benefits.

It is my hope that the each of the public hearings will serve to provide the committee with a greater sense of the issues that the NYC and the technology industry can address in a uniform manner to ensure that it can be distributed to the "masses".

nicholas_thompson said...

I'm another of the committee members and an editor at Wired Magazine. I agree with Shaun, and am very much looking forward to the hearing. Much of the world has figured broadband out in vastly better ways than New York has and there's a lot this city can do better.

Lynette said...

At Teaching Matters we just started testing out this Mereki technology. Does anyone have any comments on this and its implications?

News Archive
Meraki to Build Free Community WiFi Network in San Francisco
Sunday, March 4th, 2007
Meraki to Enable “First Mile” of San Francisco Community WiFi providing an Entire Square Mile of Neighborhoods with Free Internet Access. Visit http://sf.meraki.net/ for details.

Washington D.C. — March 5, 2007 – Meraki Networks (www.meraki.net), pioneer of the first consumer wireless mesh Internet network designed to “unwire the world,” announced today that it is sponsoring and supporting a network that it calls the “The First Mile in Unwiring the World” in San Francisco. Over the next several weeks and months, the company will be working with the community and deploying their powerful and simple technology to bring the 15,000 residents online for free.

Meraki Founder and CEO Sanjit Biswas announced the new community WiFi network at the Freedom to Connect conference in Washington, D.C. The conference is a showcase of the latest in wireless technology and efforts to use new innovative wireless solutions to expand Internet access.

“We want to bring Internet access to the next billion people in the world,” said Biswas. “Wireless networks offer the best opportunity we have to connect the rest of this country and the rest of the world to the Internet and our mesh technology is offering an inexpensive and easy way to do it.”

There are already 15,000 Meraki users in more than 25 countries. In the US, the technology is now creating inexpensive community-wide WiFi networks in San Diego to Portland and even internationally in Europe and Latin America.

In the San Francisco network, Meraki will set up indoor and outdoor wireless routers to offer free WiFi from Mission Dolores Park through the Castro and Duboce Park Neighborhoods and up to Alamo Square Park, providing free Internet access for homes, parks and local businesses. Meraki is providing the wireless routers and mesh technology and a diverse group of local families, residents, business owners and enthusiasts are coming together to learn about and power their apartments buildings, businesses, parks and favorite landmarks with free WiFi access. http://sf.meraki.net/
.

“This is really a community project, and we are excited to work with individuals, families and businesses in this neighborhood to build out the availability of free access,” said Sanjit Biswas. “Our goal with this project is to bring free Internet access into homes across this neighborhood and into surrounding areas.”

With more than 800 WiFi spots (many of which require a fee) there is only about one access point for every 1,000 residents in San Francisco, creating huge stretches and whole neighborhoods that are not served by wifi access. As the second hilliest city in the world, there are also concerns about WiFi signal strength in San Francisco, but with Meraki’s wireless mesh technology, the networks nodes work together in an organic fashion to create a reliable and flexible network.

Meraki is working with Bay Area wireless groups and will use this first network in San Francisco to showcase new features being developed at Meraki as well as features community members request. The Meraki Mini is a tiny 802.11 b/g wireless router that simply plugs into a wall outlet and an Internet connection, and can also work as a repeater for an existing Internet network, extending the wireless range. The Meraki Mini is an inexpensive but high powered way for consumers and communities to start creating their own networks and will be for sale from www.meraki.net in the coming weeks for $49. An outdoor version with a range of up to 700 feet is also available for $99.

About Meraki Networks
Meraki Networks, pioneer of the first consumer wireless mesh Internet network designed to “unwire the world”, and bring Internet access to all. Headquartered in Mountain View, Calif. Meraki was founded in 2006 by Ph.D. candidates from MIT with the goal of bringing affordable wireless Internet access to people around the world. The Meraki team is developing low-cost, easy-to-install and use, wireless mesh technology that enables consumers to cover their homes, apartment complexes and entire communities with powerful wireless Internet access immediately. Meraki’s technology enables community-wide wireless mesh Internet networks without the need for much time, money or expertise. Meraki is also experimenting with groundbreaking ways to offer free Internet access to Meraki customers. Meraki attracted more than 15,000 users in 25 countries during its beta period and was funded by angel investors, including Google, and a Series A round of funding in January 2007. For more information, visit: www.meraki.net

Posted in News, Press Releases

Meraki Networks Closes Sequoia Capital Series A Funding
Monday, February 5th, 2007
For Immediate Release
January 29, 2007

Round Follows Google Angel Investment in Company That Brings a New Low-Cost, Powerful Wireless Internet Network to “Unwire the World”

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. - Meraki Networks, pioneer of the first consumer wireless mesh Internet network designed to “unwire the world,” announced today it has closed a Series A funding round of $5 million, led by Sequoia Capital. The Series A funding follows funding from angel investors, including Google, also headquartered in Mountain View, Calif.

Meraki was founded in 2006 by Ph.D. candidates from MIT with the goal of bringing affordable wireless Internet access to people around the world. The Meraki team is developing low-cost, easy-to-install and use, wireless mesh technology that enables consumers to cover their homes, apartment complexes and entire communities with powerful wireless Internet access immediately. Meraki’s technology enables community-wide wireless mesh Internet networks without the need for much time, money or expertise. Meraki is also experimenting with groundbreaking ways to offer free Internet access to Meraki customers.

“We’re thrilled to have our efforts to revolutionize Internet access endorsed by tech leaders like Google and Sequoia Capital,” said Meraki Networks CEO Sanjit Biswas. “We’re looking forward to helping people build Meraki networks in their communities and around the world.”

Google has already deployed Meraki’s new wireless mesh network products to enhance the coverage of the community-wide wireless Internet network it offers in residential communities throughout Mountain View.

“Meraki is at the forefront of a new movement to bring powerful wireless Internet connections to homes across the country as well as to underserved and economically challenged neighborhoods from Boston to Bangladesh,” said Chris Sacca, head of special initiatives at Google. “Consumers will get an opportunity to get great wireless Internet access in communities that have never experienced what being ‘online’ is all about.”

Meraki offers the Meraki Mini, a sleek 802.11 b/g wireless router that simply plugs into a wall outlet and a Internet connection, and can also work as a repeater for an existing Internet network, extending the wireless range. The Meraki Mini is an inexpensive but high powered way for consumers and communities to start creating their own networks. The Meraki Mini will be for sale from www.meraki.net in the coming weeks for $49.

In a very limited beta program open for just a few weeks last year, Meraki’s products became somewhat of a viral sensation, bringing wireless Internet access to more than 15,000 users in 25 countries around the world.