Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Video of NYC Council webcasting proposal public hearing

Below is video of last week's public hearing on the proposal to webcast NYC City Council and other municipal meetings. It was informative with first, representatives of the NYC Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT) giving the official line, and then, two presentations by commercial vendors. After which Common Cause, the Peoples Production House, and others, spoke on behalf of the public interest.

Video is below:

iPod | stills | youtube | mp3

Witnesses (w/timecodes)

00:04:18 Paul Cosgrave - Comissioner, DoITT
00:20:10 Christopher Long - DoITT
00:32:18 Robert Feldman - Total Webcasting
00:05:12 Chris Rynders - Granicus Inc.
01:16:19 Susan Lerner - Common Cause / NY
01:21:19 Rachael Fauss - Citizen's Union
01:24:51 Joshua Breitbart - People's Production House
01:32:29 Joly MacFie - ISOC-NY
01:36:16 Kayza Kleinman - Jewish Community Council for Coney Island

Read more!

Friday, October 17, 2008

dot nyc hearing (webcast)

On Friday, October 17th, Council Member Gale A. Brewer (D-Manhattan), Chair of the Technology in Government Committee, held a hearing regarding the City’s interest for a unique .nyc Top Level Domain (TLD).

ipod | stills | youtube | mp3

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, also known as ICANN, is globally recognized not-for-profit that is responsible for the coordination of domain names worldwide. In the 2009, ICANN will be implementing new policy recommendations to expand domains for cities worldwide, in an effort to boost city identities and tourism. The new TLD process that is being introduced by ICANN will issue TLDs to cities for the first time in 2009. After this date, cities will be able to apply for a top level domain, eg. .nyc for New York. This TLD will continue New York’s dominance in commerce, tourism, and culture. Moreover, these efforts will increase New York City's position as a leading Digital City.

Council Member Gale A. Brewer is sponsoring a resolution to support the acquisition of the .nyc Top Level Domain. Resolution 1495-2008 urges The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to approve the City’s application in order to meet the needs of city residents via the Internet.

00:00:00 Gale A. Brewer - Introduction
05:15:16 Thomas Lowenhaupt,
21:57:10 Hannah Kopelman,
23:31:31 Michael Palage,
35:29:54 Bill DeBlasio - questions
01:07:01 Frans C. Verhagen, Sustainability Sociologist
01:11:51 Paul Garrin, Name.Space
01:24:37 Antony Van Couvering, Names@Work
01:30:23 Davidson Goldin, Names@Work
01:35:21 Jack Eichenbaum, GISMO

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Gale Brewer speaks at One Web Day 2008

Councilmember Gale Brewer spoke at the celebration of One Web Day 2008 in Washington Sq. Park on Sep 22. Video is below..

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Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Broadband Data Improvement Act Passes Congress

Adapted from

"Broadband Data Improvement Act -
Section 3 -
Requires the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to: (1) revise the definitions of advanced telecommunications capability, or broadband; (2) identify tiers of broadband service in which most connections can reliably transmit full-motion, high definition video; and (3) revise certain provider reporting requirements to enable the FCC to identify actual numbers of broadband connections by customer type and geographic area. Requires the FCC to determine certain demographic data for geographical areas that are not served by any provider of advanced telecommunications capability. Requires expansion of the American Community Survey to elicit information to determine whether persons subscribe to Internet service and, if so, by dial-up or broadband.
Section 4 -
Requires the Comptroller General to conduct a study to evaluate additional broadband metrics or standards that may be used to provide users with more accurate information about the cost and capability of their broadband connection and to better compare the deployment and penetration of broadband in the United States with other countries. Requires a report to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and the House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce.
Section 5 -
Requires the Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy to conduct a study on the impact of broadband speed and price on small businesses.
Section 6 -
Provides for grants to develop and implement statewide initiatives to identify and track the availability and adoption of broadband services within each state. Requires that the FCC provide eligible entities (nonprofit organizations selected by states to work in partnership with state agencies and private sector partners in identifying and tracking the availability and adoption of broadband services in each state) electronic access to aggregate data collected by the FCC from broadband service providers. Authorizes appropriations."

Read more!

Monday, September 29, 2008

White Spaces Hearing (webcast)

or view YouTube Playlist

Full audio:


Gale A. Brewer - introduction

Panel 1
Mary Landolfi - Pres. American Federation of Musicians Local 802
Ira Mont - VP Actors Equity Association
Laurie Baskin - Director of Government & Education Programs. Theatre Communications Group
Heidi Mathis - Corporate Relations Manager at The Shubert Organization / Broadway League

Panel 2
Stuart Overby - Senior Director, Global Spectrum Strategy. Motorola, Inc
Marc Berejka - Sr. Director, State Affairs & Public Policy, Microsoft Corp.

Panel 3
Thomas J. Hillgardner - General Counsel For The Association Of Cable Access Producers
David L. Donovan - President, Association For Maximum Service Television, Inc.
Mark Brunner - Senior Director Of Global Public Relations For Shure Inc
James Smith - Producer, Manhattan Neighborhood Network

Panel 4
Joshua Breitbart - Policy Director, People's Production House
Dana Spiegel - Executive Director, NYCwireless
Timothy Karr - Campaign Director, Free Press
Chris Keeley - Associate Director, Common Cause/NY

Panel 5
Gracey Stoddard - representing Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney
John V. Weaver - CEO/President, Liberty Imaging LLC

Panel 6
Michael Lewis - Founder, Wireless Harlem
Dharma Dailey - Director of Research, The Ethos Group

Read more!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Why Broadband Matters (video)

Here is video of the US Senate Commerce Committee's hearing 'Why Broadband Matters' held on Sep 16 2008.

Download iPod version


Opening Remarks

Panel 1

Mr. Rey Ramsey [testimony]
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
One Economy Corporation

Mr. Larry Cohen
Communications Workers of America

Mr. Jonathan Linkous
Executive Director
American Telemedicine Association

Dr. Mara Mayor
Board Member

Ms. Margaret Conroy
Missouri State Librarian

Mr. Gene Peltola
President and CEO
Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation

Read more!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Council Requests FCC to Slow Digital Switchover

City Hall - On Monday, September 29th at 10:00 AM, Council Member Gale A. Brewer (D-Manhattan), Chair of the Technology in Government Committee, will hold a hearing regarding the FCC’s plans to shutdown the analog frequency in 2009, which will create a huge “white space.”

White spaces, freed radio frequencies due to technological change or unused portions of the electromagnetic spectrum, are opening up opportunities to greater internet access to consumers since the waves can penetrate through walls and travel long distances. The expected digital switchover from analog television broadcasts in February 2009 will open up a large chunk of the U.S. analog frequency for short-range networking.

Current television companies and wireless device users are concerned about the switchover, since they are still using equipment on the analog frequency of 54 MHz to 698 MHz: many wireless microphones use the 600-700 MHz. The cessation from the analogs and the interference of the white space technologies (currently being produced by major technology firms, like Microsoft and Dell) prevent many wireless microphones from working, which are heavily used in major institutions and theatres [e.g., Broadway, Lincoln Center]. Moreover, it is possible that the new white spaces gadgets can interfere with television and other wireless signals on the former frequencies.

Speaker Christine Quinn and Council Member Gale A. Brewer are sponsoring a resolution asking the Federal Communications Commission [FCC] not to promulgate rules until the incumbent analog frequency devices and systems, as well as unlicensed wireless devices, are functioning properly.

The Council Technology in Government Committee will hold the hearing regarding the white spaces on Monday, September 29, 2008 at 10 AM in the Committee Room of City Hall, New York. This is a public meeting and all are welcome to attend.

For further information or to sign up to speak, Samuel Wong, Legislative Aide on Technology, (212) 788-6975/(646) 648 2179 or You can also contact Shula Warren, Chief of Staff, at (212) 788-6975/(347) 668 9576 or

In addition, on Friday, September 19, 2008 at 10 AM, the Council Technology in Government Committee is holding a hearing on Intro. 54, requiring DoITT to produce an annual technology strategy and that the mayoral agencies submit annual technology plans to DoITT for publication as an addendum to the department’s annual technology strategy. The location is in the Committee Room, City Hall, New York. For further information or to sign up to speak, please contact the staff members mentioned above.

Read more!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Mayoral Broadband Briefing Video

An introduction to Mayoral Broadband Briefing is located on YouTube,, for your convenience.

The full briefing can be viewed on the post below.

Read more!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Video of NYC Broadband Study briefing.

Download: divx | ipod | wmv | real | phone | mp3 | stills

Here is code to embed the video into your page/blog.

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Friday, July 25, 2008

Broadband Advisory Committee Briefing

On Wednesday, July 30th at 11:00am there will be a briefing from the Mayor’s Office and Diamond Management & Technology Consultants for the Broadband Advisory Committee regarding the Bloomberg Administration’s plans for bridging the digital divide in New York City.

The Broadband Advisory Committee was established in 2005 with the passage of Introduction 625-A creating a joint public broadband commission to advise the Mayor and the City Council of New York on how the resources of City government can be used to stimulate the private market so that residents and businesses of New York City have more options in terms of high-speed Internet access. The goal of the committee is to educate the general public about broadband and the newest communication technologies, and to give New York City residents the opportunity to comment on how the digital divide in New York City can be closed. To support these efforts the Broadband Advisory Committee has held public Broadband Hearings in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens. The Committee will hold its fifth and final hearing in Staten Island this fall.

Diamond Management & Technology Consultants was hired by the New York City Economic Development Corporation to determine the breadth of the digital divide in New York City and develop programs and initiatives to provide greater digital inclusion for all residents. Chris O’Brien, a Partner in Diamond’s Public Sector practice, will be detailing Diamond’s findings and its recommendations for the City’s next steps.

The meeting will take place in the Committee of the Whole Room, City Hall, New York, NY on Wednesday, July 30that 11:00 am. This is a public meeting and all are welcome to attend. For further information please contact Kunal Malhotra, Director of Legislation & Budget, 212-788-6975 or

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

FCC wants free broadband service, plus content filtering

An arstechnica article reports that the Federal Communications Commission is looking for a bidder to provide nationwide free broadband service. A spokesperson for the Commission has told Ars that the FCC wants it to include "content filters."

The service would utilize 1.9 GHz-2.1 GHz bands, agency Chair Kevin Martin told reporters on Friday. The data will have to download at a minimum of 768 kilobits, Martin said, provided at a "pretty aggressive" build out schedule: Half the United States population must be able to access it after four years, and 95% by the time the license comes up for renewal. The agency will make available about 25 Megahertz of spectrum for this in an Advanced Wireless Services auction (AWS-3)—details to be disclosed in a Report and Order unveiled at the Commission's open meeting scheduled for June 12th.

A company called M2Z has had a proposal in for something like this for some time. It was turned down last September by the FCC for lack of a competitive bid. However one has now appeared from a company called NetfreeUS. The new proposal, in contrast to the centralized nature of M2Z's plan, would lease the spectrum to cities, entrepreneurs, and other groups. Collectively, they would make the band open on a "private commons" basis to peer-to-peer and device-to-device communicators. The plan has received an endorsement from Congressman Frank Pallone Jr. (D-NJ).

The ars article notes that, while other spectrum bidders consider both plans a landgrab fraught with problems, in April 2007 Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (D-Palo Alto) and Rep. Christopher Cannon (R- UT) introduced the Wireless Internet Nationwide for Families Act (H.R. 5846) which would mandate such a service.

Read more!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Tim Wu calls for Broadband Czar

In a recent article In Slate, part of a series where contributors suggest policy initiatives for the next administration, Prof. Tim Wu of Columbia University calls for, amongst other things, the creation of the post of national Broadband Czar.

Tim was interviewed on NPR last Friday and will be speaking at a colloquium at NYU on Wednesday.

From the article:

Most people in technology will tell you that the
leading problem today—the one thing sinking all boats,
so to speak—is the broadband last mile, the final
connection between people and the Internet. Since
2000, computers have become faster, hard drives
cheaper, and free e-mail better, but for the vast
majority of Americans, Internet access remains clunky.
Same goes for wireless broadband (cell phones with
good Internet access), which is arriving, but slowly
and expensively. These facts limit what everyone in
the tech and media industries can imagine as effective
new products. They are also beginning to put the
United States at a disadvantage as compared with
nations in Asia and Europe that have invested more.

It's a daunting problem with a long history of both
public and private failure
. Unlike, say, building a
better dating service, broadband is an infrastructure
problem that requires solutions akin to improving
roads or plumbing. National infrastructure policy is
tough, and, at its worst, Bush's approach has borrowed
largely from Emperor Nero.

To start fixing things, the next president should
immediately announce a national broadband policy with
this simple goal: to put the United States back into
undisputed leadership in wireless and wire-line
broadband. But the question is how, and that's where
things get complicated. Proposed fixes abound: pay
Verizon, AT&T, or Comcast to build it? Treat the
Internet's pipes like the interstate highways, and
have the government build them? Use tax credits to
encourage consumers to buy their own fiber
connections? Sell property rights in spectrum or
create a "mesh" wireless commons?

No one really knows what the best answer is. That's
why the next president should appoint a specialized
broadband czar to get after the problem. Right now,
broadband is no one's responsibility, and the buck
keeps getting passed between industry, Congress, the
White House, and the FCC. The point of a czar would be
to make it someone's job to figure out what it will
take to fix broadband.

Read more!

Friday, April 11, 2008


Commuter buses in more than 20 cities now offer wireless Internet, according to an informal survey by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA). Wireless service is also on some commuter trains. APTA President William Miller predicts wireless Internet will become a service riders expect. Outfitting a bus with wireless capability costs about $1,000 to $2,000, transportation officials said.


Read more!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

USA ranks #4 in W.E.F. Network Readiness Index

The United States is ranked 7th worldwide in a Networked Readiness Index in a new report issued by the World Economic Forum. The index is based on a variety of economic and political as well as technical factors.

This is in contrast to last year's OECD report, based on tighter criteria of bandwidth and connectivity, that ranked the United States 19th worldwide.

From a N.Y. Times article about the report:

An O.E.C.D. economist acknowledged the nuances in
taking into account government regulatory and related
factors, and said it was hard to draw a single
conclusion from the data. "I think we can say that a
lot of the situation in the United States is a result
of the lack of competition," said Taylor Reynolds, an
economist in the Internet and Telecommunications Policy
section of the O.E.C.D. "In Europe we have adopted an
unbundling strategy wholeheartedly."

That has led to more competition in markets outside the
United States, he said, which in turn has driven
Internet service providers elsewhere to offer speedier
service and lower prices.

One aspect of global competition that is being watched
closely, he added, is the way fiber optic networks are
being introduced in different regions. Even though the
United States has begun to accelerate the availability
of fiber optic services, it is lagging Europe and Asia
in network speeds.

While Verizon is offering 50 megabit FIOS in the United
States, 100 megabit services are common in Europe, and
the Japanese are offering 1 gigabit services.

Still, there are puzzling aspects to the American
market, which has higher broadband availability than
many countries but lower adoption rates. More customers
have retained dial-up services than most countries,
which might be explained by price or lack of attractive
broadband services.

The report concludes:

Establishing a pervasive and prosperous Internet culture
is as much about creating the right business environment
as it is about adopting the right technology. If governments-
national, regional, and municipal - want to
harness the potential of ICT, they must not only invest
in ICT infrastructure and the capabilities to support it,
but also be ready to modify their country’s relevant
institutional setting - or ICT ecosystem - to allow ICT
to yield its transformative powers.

More info: The Global Information Technology Report 2007-2008

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Tuesday, April 8, 2008

NY Times editorial on Broadband

An editorial in the Mar 29 2008 New York Times notes Earthlink's turnabout in Philadelphia, and calls for continued efforts to bring universal access.

The article concludes:

Broadband service is no longer a luxury. It has become a basic part of the infrastructure of education and democracy. EarthLink should fulfill the commitments it made. Even in these tough economic times, cities should keep pushing municipal Wi-Fi and looking for partners and plans that can make it a reality.

Read more!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Universal Broadband Grants for New York announced

New York State Council for Universal BroadbandMar 19: New York Governor David A. Paterson announced that nine public/private sector partnerships will be the first recipients of grants from the New York State Council for Universal Broadband. The funds are targeted to help promote the research, design and implementation of innovative solutions to create affordable broadband Internet access for underserved urban and rural communities throughout the state.

Amongst the recipients were an initiative to bring broadband over power lines (BPL) to Onondaga County and a program to bring a year's free access to residents of the Mount Hope community housing project in the Bronx. Naturally our illustrious chairman is to be congratulated on the latter.

In 2007, the New York State Legislature appropriated $5 million to provide seed money to be awarded through the Council. To leverage the funds, the Council required a minimum dollar-for-dollar match in the form of cash, in-kind goods and services, or a combination of the two. The value of the matching cash and in-kind services from the nine award recipients totals more than $15.1 million.

More than 50 applications were received for the first year of funding and the proposed 2008-09 budget includes $15 million to continue the program.

Press Release:

Grant Recipients:

ISOC-NY: New York State Council for Universal Broadband Read more!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Summary of testimony at Queens Public Hearing

Below is a quick summary I made for ISOC-NY of the testimony at the Queens Public hearing.

At the hearing an updated Briefing on Broadband Access to the Internet in New York City was issued.

Summary of testimony

01 David Birdsell - Introductions

  • Neil Pariser
  • Tom Dunne
  • Anthony Townsend
  • David Wicks
  • Wendy Lader
  • Mitchel Ahlbaum

02 Cindy Freidmutter - Vice President of External Affairs at LaGuardia Community College -

  • Welcome

03 Larry Pressler - Former U.S. Senator (R-SD) -

  • Sen. Pressler is author of the 1996 Telecommunications Act.

Gale: should e-rate be expanded?

  • Yes. Sen. Pressler is working on an article that will recommend that the 1996 act be brought up to date particularly the Snowe-Rockefeller amendment.
  • It's important that the NYCBAC make its concerns known to Washington.

04 Gale Brewer & James Sanders - introductory remarks

  • Work of this Committee is combined with the Economic Development Corp.
  • Technology is fast changing.
  • NYC ahead of the curve compared to other cities.
  • Public participation is vital.

05 Frank Pasquale, Professor, Seton Hall University School of Law

  • Broadband infrastructure essential to economy.
  • Digital divide 1) between rich and poor in the USA.
  • Digital Divide 2) between USA and other advanced countries.
  • Government co-investment needed to meet goals.

Gale : How do we achieve goals without federal support?

  • While maintaining net neutrality explore taxation of successful application providers.

06 Joshua Breitbart, Policy Director, Peoples Production House -

Tom: Does PPH work with community access organizations?

  • Community grant funded video project with MNN for high schools on explaining internet technology.

Gale: Vis-a-vis PPH 'Road NYC' program the committee would be glad to meet with immigrants, perhaps with simultaneous translation, to discuss broadband.

  • This could be done. Meetings would not necessarily have to be lengthy.

David: Top two suggestions for improving public engagement on broadband issue?

  • Evening meetings
  • Update website

07 Takeshi Utsumi, PhD, Global University System / Columbia University

  • 35 years experience in internetworking
  • creating Global University System with HQ in Tampere, Finland
  • Japan & Korea way ahead of USA - consumers pay $50/mth for 100-160 mbps,
  • While Brooklyn Poly/Columbia U. have 100mbps - major Japanese Universities have 100gbps & local universities have 1gbps
  • There is a 1.3 tera bps connection between Japan and Siberia
  • a 2 tera bps is being promulgated between Japan and Africa, with Japan Gov, finance $10-20 billion
  • Asian Development Bank is developing a fibre super highway alomg the old Silk Road.
  • NYC should be a dynamic information center, yet Prof. Utsumi has 10mbps which drops to 5mpbs via Time Warner.
  • NYC ought to devise at least a 1 terabit trunkline throughout 5 boroughs then implement free wireless access.
  • Education software is becoming free, the connection needs to also be free.
  • Mere multimedia content capability is not sufficient - applications like videoconferencing, collaborative engineering simulations need more bandwidth

Anthony: Is the city at a disadvantage for attracting scientific research because of bandwidth deficiency?

  • Yes. When Prof. Utsumi started there was only one other computer the equivalent of Brooklyn Poly. While everyone else has progressed Brooklyn Poly has stayed the same.

Gale: Should the national government spend billions of dollars like other countries?

  • Prof. Utsumi has been working with Finland. Finland is #1 on vocational training. The first thing to spend money on is education in K12.

Neil: What in particular is effect of lack of bandwidth on Brooklyn Poly?

  • With 1gbps students can work on virtual reality, collaborative 3d modeling, on a global scale. Educational video needs to be of high quality.

08 Computers For Youth -

Bill Rappel, National Director for the Affiliate Network.

  • 3 students that are testifying are from I.S.204.
  • CFY promotes a rich home learning environment in partnership with schools.
  • CFY's programs select middle school and provides every 6th grader with computer w/ standalone educational software.
  • Going forward software will increasingly require broadband access.

Rema McCoy, Student Software Team Manager

  • Student volunteers participate in Saturday sessions evaluating educational software
  • All three students testifying are participants in the program.
  • Increasingly submitted software requires online connectivity so this year, via co-operation with cable operators, all participants have received free broadband.

Samuel Fok, I.S. 204 student

  • All students should have fast and inexpensive internet at home, helps with research and do home work faster and on time.
  • Time is wasted waiting for access at the library. One of Sam's projects got deleted.
  • Video material in particular needs broadband.

Nadia Betancor, I.S. 204

  • All students should have fast and inexpensive internet at home, it gives you information at your fingertips.
  • It helps you find out what is happening in other parts of the world.
  • Internet access is a useful and important research resource for school projects.
  • Home access is easier, quieter, more enjoyable, comfortable, and relaxing.
  • Home access saves time and having to walk to the library (although walking is good exercise).
  • Nadia also does research for her family, and is able to help her brother and her sister with their homework.

Daisy Garcia, I.S. 204

  • All students should have fast and inexpensive internet at home, kids need it to do research for their homework.
  • With home access, it is possible explore freely without the pressure of time limits or worries of losing data.

Mitchel: Where do you learn how to use the internet?

  • Daisy: School
  • Samuel: Parents
  • Nadia: School

Gale: Do other kids in your class have Internet at home? How much help is it at school if you have it at home?

  • Sam: Many kids have dial-up, but only one in 27 in his class had dsl o. Some web-pages use a lot of a memory and it makes projects slow. A project that takes a day on broadband can take a week on dial-up.
  • Nadia: Not everyone. They have to go to the library. Home access would be a big help.
  • Daisy: Only a few have cable Internet. Home access is much faster than going to the library.

Neil: What was the last project you needed internet for, and for which library access was insufficient.

  • Daisy. Black History Month. Thurgood Marshall.
  • Nadia. Same project. In the library sometimes they won't have a book on the person you have been assigned, while on the computer you just type in the name and the information comes up.
  • Samuel. Has been working for some time on a Science Fair project. Researching information on the human nervous system. With dial-up progress was slow. Now with broadband, project is almost finished.

Neil: Have you given up going to the library now that you have internet?

  • Sam: Not given up, but the 35 minutes it takes for him to walk to the library he can work on his project.
  • Daisy: Still goes to the library for books.
  • Nadia: likes reading, and takes her brother and sister so they can increase their reading skills.

David Wicks: With home access do parents get involved in school projects?

  • Daisy: Yes. Leads to conversation.
  • Nadia: Yes. Parents make helpful suggestions.
  • Samuel: Yes. Dad checks that he's focused.

Wendy: Do your parents know how to go online?

  • Sam: Parents know how to go online, but need help.
  • Daisy: is teaching her parents. Dad is getting the hang of it.
  • Nadia: helps her Mom.

Wendy: Are there any studies on the percentage of broadband usership amongst CFY participants?

  • Bill: will forward information to the Committee.

Wendy: Is CFY providing broadband for other schools?

  • Bill: apart from software evaluators at I.S.204. there is a pilot program with Cablevision in The Bronx where all CFY families are provided with 8 hours of free access - they can then elect to sign up for dial-up at $9/month, payable with check or money order.

Wendy: Was it successful? Will it be expanded?

  • Bill: Too early to say. While many families were already signed up for triple-play, among the rest many were reluctant to sign up at all for reasons that are not clear.

David Wicks: Website?

David: Nadia, how has home access changed tutoring your brother and sister?

  • Nadia: Instead of going to the library, I can just access the information.

Davis: Do your friends come over to use your broadband?

  • Sam: Not really.
  • Daisy: No.
  • Nadia: Yes. A friend comes over to do her projects.

09 Scott Wolpow - IT professional

  • Hearing could be streamed live?
  • Concerns with access providers:
    • Net Neutrality - restricting access infringes first amendment rights
    • Throttled bandwidth - ditto, and while occasionally justifiable should be fully disclosed
    • Blocked ports - limit parents ability to to monitor children, VOIP, smart refrigerators and other innovative applications, often is undisclosed
    • Undisclosed real speeds.
    • Arbitrary data transfer limits.

Anthony: Are these behaviors inhibiting New Yorkers ability to develop new projects and services?

  • 100%. Yes.

10 Daniel Dragan - broadband customer

  • Lack of competition - extremely difficult for new players.
  • Access via Libraries - valuable free resource
  • Internet cafe's - cheap alternative
  • Lack of middle ground between consumer and business class connections.
  • Municipal broadband fails because it overestimates potential customers and is uncompetitive
  • Universal Service Fund. Should fund broadband access.
  • Internet speeds are not increasing.
  • Looks forward to the day when entire world is a global LAN
  • dsl access is not available in all parts of the city
  • Resellers are ill served by broadband providers
  • Small businesses can be hit with big line charges to install commercial grade access
  • Industrial parks being a particular example.

Wendy: Which industrial parks?

  • Brooklyn Navy Yards

Wendy: I think that's been remedied.

11 Bruce Lincoln - Urban Cyberspace Initiative

  • submitted testimony
  • Involved in a pilot project in Harlem to develop technology entrepreneurship community centers in the NYCHA properties.
  • In the information age all citizens need 1) access 2) training, and 3) services.
  • Recently attended 'State of the Internet' and 'Future of Broadband' conferences and was surprised to find goal was limited to 10mbps to 100mbps.
  • For immersive distance-learning and tele-medicine apps symmetric bandwidth in the 1gbps range is imperative.
  • Incumbents have little interest in radical redevelopment of their networks, particularly in under-served markets.
  • Metroscale Regional Cyberspace Initiative (MERCI) is a hybrid fiber/wireless model developed at MIT.
  • Apart from social benefits the MERCI model is designed to break even financially in 36 months.
  • MERCI is undergoing tests in several communities including Harlem, & Jackson Mississippi.

Gale: What is necessary for ubiquitous coverage? For instance, in Jackson?

  • Long term agreement with municipality
  • Using incumbent redundant fiber.
  • Access to city's assets. Towers, lightposts, etc.
  • In Jackson backhaul provided by Entergy thus no conflict of interest.

James: How much costs involved in Mississippi projects?

  • Couched in the context of a green development with Carlton Brown Co., built into the overall bond
  • Cost in Jackson was $1.95m
  • Delta project was $500.000 - looking for funding from Rural Broadband Telecommunications Authority of the US Dept. of Agriculture

James: So how much for Queens?

  • A basic deployment in Queens - $500,000
  • A basic deployment in the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone - $365,000

Neil: So are you an IP provider or are just putting in infrastructure?

  • Not an IP provider - commercialized advanced technology.
  • Previously worked with Columbia U. and City on Community Tech Centers
  • In contrast to Philadelphia mesh system emphasis is on smart green buildings with private developers
  • System is then gifted to community via co-operative ownership.
  • Consortial partners provide equipment and services.

Neil: Harlem project is $365,00. What will we see for that?

  • Initially 1mpbs wireless cloud from 116th to 175th St's.
  • Custom access devices will either be manufactured in China or by Nokia which will access computational services on the network.

Neil: It will be wired?

  • It will be wired, with fiber and WiMax backhaul.

David: What regulatory relief would be required to do this on a broad scale.

  • The incumbents would need to be held at bay.
  • With this in mind we are forming these non-profit consortia so there is community ownership of the network.

12 Thomas Lowenhaupt - -

  • Founded - a non-profit with the purpose of acquiring .nyc top level domain
  • Developing Internet vital for city.
  • Without it's own namespace and adequate telecommunications NYC may become a hasbeen .
  • NYC is joined in the drive for a city TLD by Paris and Berlin.
  • 100mpbs is insufficient as goal
  • Almost 200 years ago a similar advisory board laid out the Manhattan street plan.

Gale: What progress on .nyc?

  • In 2001 Community Board 3 passed a resolution suggesting acquisition of .nyc
  • Idea lay mostly dormant until Berlin got in touch a year ago, and then non-profit was formed.
  • Participating for a year in ICANN process, and will attend ICANN meeting in Paris in June.

13 Sonya Park, Program Director of New York Metro Area, National Fund for Teaching Entrepreneurship -

  • Since 1987 have trained over 30.000 in entrepreneurship via creation of business plans.
  • Many students are from disadvantaged backgrounds.
  • Emphasis is on self-empowerment.
  • Research, and thus Internet access is a vital component.

Gail: Do students have access at home?

  • Primary access is at schools/libraries.
  • NFTE maintains a bank of computers at its office in Wall St. for alumni students.
  • Pilot program of business centers around the City.

Gail: Once students graduate, lacking home access, library or your center is the only option?

  • Libraries and community centers are good options, but opportunities are restricted.

Jose: What are your top 3 recommendations for access?

  • Availability in schools. Quality is variable. Upgrading school's access/equipment/software should be a priority.
  • After school access should be provided.
  • Subsidized home access for disadvantaged students with computers.

Jose: How important are community-based organizations as an access option?

  • Many CBO's offer programs but not general access.
  • Greater availability needed.

14 Barbara Colwell, Executive Director, ThinkQuest NYC -

  • submitted brochure
  • ThinkQuest hosts annual competitions where teams of students build websites.
  • 15.000 students in all 5 boroughs have participated.
  • 75% of schools involved have the majority of students on reduced priced lunch.
  • The internet has changed learning and communication.
  • Critical information for kids such as healthcare, scholarships, and community is available via the internet.
  • Broadband is necessary, dialup is no longer effective.
  • Broadband should be available to everone in the city.

Anthony: Is your group based in NYC. Are your sponsors, such as Apple & Pearson NYC based?

  • Yes. Local Apple and Pearson people help with teacher training on weekends.

Anthony: Have you approached any of the Telecom companies?

  • Verizon have been approached and it was suggested that they provide some free access. None has been forthcoming.

Shaun: How do you suggest home access be provided?

  • If the providers were to provide access free or low-cost to people who qualify under poverty levels the whole problem would be solved.
  • A recent Georgetown U. study found that broadband access is discriminated, both racially and economically, against those most desperately in need of the quality of life improvements it provides.

15. Mary Vavruska, Queens Borough Chamber of Commerce

  • submitted testimony
  • Every year improving broadband access is part of the Queens Chamber legislative platform.
  • Improved access is essential for global competitiveness.
  • Seniors need broadband to take advantage of remote health monitoring options.
  • Lack of access might hamper Homeland Security abilities.
  • It is time to conclude study and take action.

Gale: What's the state of small business internet usage in Queens?

  • Queens Chamber has regular seminars on technology.
  • A grant has been received to assist business in adoption of best practices and technology.
  • A database of available interns has been established on the Queens Chamber website.

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Monday, March 3, 2008

Queens Hearing of the NYC Broadband Advisory Committee

On March 3rd, 2008 the New York City Broadband Advisory Committee met at LaGuardia Community College in Queens. The Committee heard from many members of the Queens nonprofit, academic, and small business community. Furthermore, the Committee also heard from special guest former U.S. Senator Larry Pressler (R-SD), who was a member of Congress for 22 years: 18 in the U.S. Senate, four in the U.S. House. Senator Pressler authored the Telecommunications Act of 1996.

You can find download links for audio and an iPod-compatible version of the video below.



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Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Bronx BAC Official Hearing Testimony March 30

Official Hearing Testimony of the Bronx Broadband Advisory Committee Hearing - March 30, 2007.

Please click on the following link to download the Bronx Hearing Transcript

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