Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Akosua K. Albritton, Technology Columnist for Our Time Press, a Brooklyn newspaper

Video Clip 9: Akosua Albritton (Our Time Press)

I begin by thanking Borough President Marty Markowitz, Councilwoman Gale Brewer and the NYC Broadband Advisory Committee for knowing how important it is to hear from Brooklyn’s families; businesses and nonprofits about their needs for telecommunication upgrade using broadband technology. It is unfortunate that the public hearing is scheduled for 12 noon to 3:00 PM here. After 5 PM, there would be an even larger turnout.

While we’re debating whether broadband infrastructure is necessary, nations and cities across the globe are laying it down, setting up Wi Fi and Wi Max. Since 2000, The Intelligent Community Forum and Polytechnic University present Building the Broadband Economy Conference and Awards. Last week, I met with Julius Timothy, Minister of Economic Development and Planning for Dominica, Dr. Stephan Brennan from The Digital Hub in Dublin, Ireland and Shaun Belle, president of Mt. Hope Housing Co. in The Bronx. Belle of Mount Hope was there because Mount Hope Housing Company was up for the Intelligent Facility of the Year Award. I say Brooklyn must get in the game and in a hurry.

Broadband is high speed, reliable Internet service. It is today’s communication technology advance the way, the telegraph, telephone and TV were in their day. In 2007, we would think it a waste of time to debate whether people need a phone in their homes, businesses or institutions.

Broadband will become just that common and integral in a blink of an eye. It’s happening now. People need fast, reliable Internet service in Brooklyn. Broadband relates to the bandwidth or the capacity for the wire or fiber optics to transmit voice, video and data. Today, people are doing their banking, making purchases, researching and watching videos on the Internet. It’s possible to take college courses, talk over the Internet and connect with friends tens of thousands of miles away. In fact, students in America are making friends with students in Australia and Africa by installing a web cam and microphone to a PC. It’s as if they’re looking at each other through a window. People need broadband because of the use of video to transmit ideas online and real time.

Businesses need websites, email and a variety of social media to stay competitive. Media experts say that major advertisers are cutting their TV advertising budgets because more people are using the Internet as a trusted source for news, information and entertainment. People are using search engines to find products and services the way telephone directories were used in the 60’s and 70’s. Small and large firms need to regularly submit their sites to search engines and consider various web marketing to be found, visited and patronized. Doesn’t this sound familiar? Remember when stores relied heavily on flyer distribution? Now, it’s email advertising.

All neighborhoods in Brooklyn deserve this access—and at a low price. A working family shouldn’t be blocked from getting high speed, wide bandwidth connection. That barrier may keep someone from taking a course to improve her life circumstances or watch streaming video about a medical procedure. New York City Council recently passed a resolution to ensure that households in publicly financed housing will be web-enabled and that the monthly fee for service should be no more than ten dollars.

As for myself, I blog, email advertise, maintain a website, have a My Space page and watch videos on You Tube. I look forward to the next offerings on the Internet.