Wednesday, November 11, 2009

NYC Council holds Net Neutrality Hearing - 11/20/2009

NYC In Feb. 2007 members of the NYC Council Committee on Technology in Government introduced Resolution 712, calling on the federal government to pass net neutrality legislation, an unlikely prospect at the time. Now, with fresh faces in Washington, the FCC has taken up the cause, establishing the six principles of net neutrality. A new bill H.R. 3458 aka the 'Internet Freedom Preservation Act of 2009' was introduced in Congress, and is currently before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. For their part, Republicans have come up with two opposing bills.

The NYC Resolution has, in recognition of this, been appropriately amended as Res. No. 712-A, and a hearing has been scheduled for November 20 at City Hall. The FCC has made a request for public comment on this matter and the Committee on Technology in Government will draw from the hearing's testimonies to draft a letter that includes citywide input.

WHAT: Public Hearing on Net Neutrality
WHEN: 10am, Friday, November 20, 2009
WHERE: Committee Room, City Hall, NYC

If you want to attend and/or testify at this hearing, please contact Kunal Malhotra, Legislative and Budget Director, at or Samuel Wong, Legislative Aide on Technology, at Both are reachable at their City Hall Office at (212) 788-6975.

We expect this hearing to be webcast live, and will also videotape for later, better quality, viewing.

Developments can be followed at and via the hashtag #reso712A.

Proposed Res. No. 712-A

Resolution calling upon the United States Congress to pass H.R. 3458 and the Federal Communications Commission to formalize strong network neutrality principles in order to ensure that the Internet will continue to foster innovation, increase competition, and spur economic growth as well as making the Internet faster and more affordable for all.

By Council Members Brewer, Fidler, Gerson, James, Liu, Sanders Jr. and de Blasio
Whereas, "Network neutrality" has been defined as the principle of an open and free Internet that fosters competition and innovation among service and content providers and offers consumers access to the content and services of their choice; and
Whereas, In the past, network providers have delivered data over the Internet on a "best efforts" basis, without creating different levels of quality of service based upon amounts paid by content providers; and
Whereas, With growth of the Internet and the increased demand for more broadband video, data, and telephone service, infrastructure network executives have indicated the likelihood that content providers will be charged more for faster data/content delivery, in part, to offset the cost of new high-speed lines; and
Whereas, Many are concerned that charging for services will lead to a type of Internet "toll road" where an individual's access to locations on the Internet will be faster to the websites of those content providers who pay a higher price to the network owner; and
Whereas, Without network neutrality, smaller companies and individuals will be unable to afford premium network access which will thus, hurt competition and the innovation that has been the hallmark of the Internet to date; and
Whereas, In 2005, the Federal Communications Commission adopted a policy statement that outlined four principles to preserve and promote the open and interconnected nature of the Internet; and
Whereas, The FCC statement declared that consumers are entitled to access to the Internet content of their choice, to run applications and services of their choice, and to enjoy all possible benefits of competition among network providers, application and service providers, and content providers; and
Whereas, While these principles guide FCC policymaking, they do not impose any enforcement power and are not a clear endorsement for net neutrality; and
Whereas, In July 2009, Rep. Edward Markey (D-MA) introduced the Internet Freedom Preservation Act of 2009 (H.R. 3458), which amends the Communications Act of 1934 in order to set policy regarding various aspects of the Internet, including access, consumer choice, competition, ability to use or offer content, applications, and services, discriminatory favoritism, and capacity; and
Whereas, In addition, in September 2009, Julius Genachowski, the current FCC chairman, proposed expanding the principles and creating formalized rules that explicitly extend to wireless networks; and
Whereas, In opposition to these proposals, Senator John McCain introduced legislation called the "Internet Freedom Act" that would eliminate the FCC's ability to "propose, promulgate, or issue any regulations regarding the Internet or IP-enabled services"; and
Whereas, The future of the Internet, thus, remains in jeopardy until the FCC promulgates meaningful, enforceable protections for network neutrality; now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the Council of the City of New York calls upon the United States Congress to pass H.R. 3458 and the Federal Communications Commission to formalize strong network neutrality principles in order to ensure that the Internet will continue to foster innovation, increase competition, and spur economic growth as well as making the Internet faster and more affordable for all.

LS 2063/2006

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Friday, July 31, 2009

NYC Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) Video

With the deadline for applications for the first round of grants from the $7.2bn set aside for broadband adoption projects in President Obama’s stimulus plan rapidly approaching (Aug14), members of many of NYC communities met to discuss how best to achieve results. Representatives of the City’s Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DOITT) poured cold water on many aspirations stating that most, if not all, the cash would go to rural projects. Despite this many declared it their intention to apply.

Audio & Video below. A listserv has been set up for further conversation. Twitter: #nycbtop

Video/audio is below:


Downloadable video will follow:


00:00 Gale A. Brewer - NYC City Council
03:38 David Birdsell - Dean of Baruch School of Public Policy
07:40 Joshua Breitbart - People's Production House
10:21 Elvin Rogers - Fair Time for Learning
12:04 Dave Pentecost - LES Girls Club
14:51 Adam Black - Share The Access
16:13 Eran Bello - Runcom Technologies (WiMax)
16:56 Thomas Camber - O.A.T.S.
18:35 Audrey Duncan - Bronxnet
19:28 Darada Davis - Peace Love Cafe
21:13 Dennis Ailane - Harlem Consumer Education Council
22:30 Renee Giordano - Sunset Park BID
24:19 Bruce Lincoln - Center for Technology Innovation & Community Engagement
27:43 Mitchel Albarn - DOITT
34:42 Darcy Gerbarg - Columbia Institute for Tele-Information
38:25 Dave Pentecost - LES Girls Club
40:15 Lou Klepner - Community Fiber Project :
44:42 Dana Spiegel - NYC Wireless
49:13 Kristine Rivera - Perscholas
50:47 Adam Black - Share The Access
52:08 Mario Bodden - SoBro
54:29 Joshua Breitbart - People's Production House
56:06 Maria Pagano - AT&T
58:53 John Weaver - Liberty Imaging
1:03:27 Henry Quiero - HITN
1:05:04 Dave Elcock - Mt. Hope Housing Co.
1:07:30 Mark Belinsky - Digital Democracy: Director
1:10:02 Alamelu Narayanaswamy - Community Programmer, MNN
1:11:04 Dimas.DeJesus - LISTA Latinos Information Science and Technology Association
1:13:01 Karen Gourgey - Baruch College Computer for the Visually Impaired
1:14:20 David Birdsell - Dean of Baruch School of Public Policy
1:17:40 Joshua Breitbart - People's Production House
1:18:04 Dave Pentecost - LES Girls Club
1:21:04 Dennis Ailane - Harlem Consumer Education Council
1:25:19 Michelle Pichardo - Institute of Family Health
1:28:01 Conclusion

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

NYC Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) Funding Meeting

On Tuesday, July 28, 2009 from 6-8 PM at DCTV’s Third Floor Conference Room (located at 87 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10013) Council Member Gale A. Brewer invites all members of the New York City technology community to discuss the recently released Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) funding that has been made available through the federal stimulus package which passed in February 2009. The purpose of this event is to help galvanize interested applicants around common goals. Please distribute this invitation widely and invite all pertinent stakeholders to attend.

Please contact Kunal Malhotra [] or Sam Wong [] at (212) 788-6975 if you have any questions and suggestions.

From Council Member Gale A. Brewer

July 24, 2009

Dear Friend,

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) was enacted
by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama on
February 17, 2009, to stimulate the national economy and invigorate
neglected industries that directly affect the nation’s competitive
edge. Included in this stimulus package is the $7.2 billion Broadband
Technology Opportunities Program, also known as BTOP. The National
Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (NTIA) released
rules (also known as notice of funds availability, NOFA) for the BTOP
governing process July 1, 2009.

In an effort to involve the entire technology and not-for-profit
community, I would like to encourage your participation in a meeting
on Tuesday, July 28, 2009 at 6 PM. At this meeting, we would like to
work with a number of organizations to connect with other institutions
and collaborate on a general plan for New York City’s BTOP

The application for the grants was released on July 9, 2009, and is
due by 5 PM on August 14, 2009. After a thorough review, the NTIA
will announce the finalists in September 2009 and will dole out the
funds in November 2009. The NTIA expects the project to be completed
within two to three years of the award date. The first of three
funding rounds will provide about $1.6 billion in competitive grants
to all fifty states.

Here is the breakdown for NTIA’s $1.6 billion BTOP [NOFA 527-545]
* $1.2 billion allocated to provide last- and middle-mile services to
unserved and underserved areas;
* $50 million for computer centers;
* $150 million to drive broadband demand; and
* $200 million in discretionary funding to spread among the
aforementioned categories, when in need;

Also included in the definitions for unserved and underserved areas.
For "last mile" funding purposes in New York City, an underserved area
can be designated by meeting one of three criteria:
* No more than 50 percent of households have access to facilities-
based terrestrial broadband;
* No fixed or mobile provider advertises speeds of at least 3 megabits
per second (Mbps);
* The rate of subscribership is 40 percent or less.

The NTIA’s Notice of Funds Availability for the BTOP program aims at
access and implementation of net neutrality. "Without a non-
discrimination condition, network operators could give preferential
treatment to affiliated services, or charge some application and
content providers for ‘fast lanes’ that would put others at a
competitive disadvantage," the notice said. Furthermore, applicants
can deploy nondiscrimatory network management methods and offer
managed services that use private connections, such as telemedicine,
public safety communications, and distance learning.

The application process is ranked on a 100-point system. The rubric
is outlined in the following way:
1. Project Purpose (30 points)
2. Project Benefits (25 points)
3. Project Viability (25 points)
4. Project Budget and Sustainability (20 points)

For more information on this breakdown, please log on to
and click on the "Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for Broadband
Initiatives Program and Broadband Technology Opportunities Program".
Read through lines 1410 through 1593.

To that, we would like to join us for a brief meeting regarding BTOP
on Tuesday, July 28, 2009 at 6 PM. The location will in Manhattan
and you will be notified about the location very soon. Please contact
Kunal Malhotra, Budget and Legislation Director, at (212) 788-6975 or
at if you have any questions or would like
attend the NYC BTOP meeting.

These grants are all competitive. We hope that groups will partner so
to be successful in bringing projects to the five boroughs.


Gale A. Brewer

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Video of Open Government Data Hearing

On Jun 29 2009 there was a public hearing of New York City Council Committee on Technology in Government to discuss open data standards for city agencies, a new bill #991-2009 having been introduced to establish same in an effort to increase government transparency and access to public data. Beyond the 'good government' benefits of the legislation, the bill is intended to unlock City data to enable web developers and entrepreneurs to interact with City government in new and unforeseen ways.

However, on the morning of the hearing Mayor Bloomberg pre-empted the bill by announcing that the City would make available 80 data sets and run a competition 'Big Apps' for the best application. While welcoming the Mayor's initiative, it was apparent that the Committee Chair Gale Brewer, and just about every witness, considered it ultimately insufficient.

Video/audio is below:

Part 1:

Introduction: Gale Brewer

Sami Naim - Asst. Counsel, Office of the Mayor

ipod | stills | youtube | mp3

Part 2:

Andrew Hoppin - CIO NY State Senate
Benjamin Kallos - Open Government Foundation
Ian Jacobs - W3C

ipod | stills | youtube | mp3

Part 3:

Morgan Reed - Assoc. For Competitive Tech.
James Vasile - Software Freedom Law Center
Philip Ashlock - Open Planning Project

ipod | stills | youtube | mp3

Part 4:

Chris Keeley - Common Cause NY
Rachael Fauss - Citizens Union NY
Denora Getachew - Citizens Union NY
Joshua Breitbart - People's Production House

ipod | stills | youtube | mp3

Part 5:

Tom Lowenhaupt - Connecting .NYC Inc.
Silona Bonewald - League of Technical Voters
Frank Hebbert - Regional Plan Assn.

ipod | stills | youtube |mp3

Part 6:

Andrew Brust - Twenty Six New York
Jay Sulzberger
Kayza Kleinman - Non-Profit Helpdesk

Conclusion - Gale Brewer

ipod | stills | youtube | mp3

NYC Council Committee on Technology in Government
Text of the bill
Status of the bill
Briefing on the bill

Bloomberg announcement Press Release
Mayor's Office NYCStat homepage

7/1/09 Ian Jacobs blog of the hearing

6/25/09 NY-FI Open-Government Techies Get Giddy About a Council Bill; But Will Bloomberg Care?
6/29/09 NY Times City Invites Software Developers to Crunch Big Data Sets
6/29/09 Politicker Bloomberg Administration Resists Online Mandate, Citing User-Friendliness
6/29/09 NY-FI review of the hearing.

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Saturday, March 28, 2009

NYTimes Series: The Broadband Gap

On Mar 10-12 2009 Saul Hansell addressed the Broadband topic in a 3 part series in the New York Times. The series attracted over 200 comments from the public.

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Saturday, March 14, 2009

Audio of Staten Island Broadband Hearing

Audio of the NYC Broadband Advisory Committee's Staten Island public hearing on Thursday Mar 5 is now available here. Video and summaries will follow.

Here is the timetable. Names are not necessarily accurately spelled - feel free to email with corrections.

0:00:00 intro - David Birdsell
0:00:35 Thomas Morales
0:04:25 Gale Brewer
0:07:32 Sean Belle
0:09:48 Jose Luis Rodriguez
0:10:02 Antony Townsend
0:10:10 Neil Pariser
0:10:27 Avi Devanian
0:10:34 Vincent Grippo
0:10:43 procedure
0:11:53 Sam Ferag
0:16:58 Salvatore Volpe
0:23:26 Tom Dunne
0:29:43 Rev. John Ryan
0:35:43 Dr. Jon Yang Jiang
0:44:55 Angela Daiuto
0:52:21 Giotry Sudansinan
0:56:07 Eve Victor - Seniornet
1:04:12 Mel Bloxner
1:10:12 Kim Falcon - Staten Island Community Hospital
1:14:35 Cathy Santo
1:21:47 Dan Stevens - Stevens Enterprises
1:24:40 Mark Lepari - New Dorp High School
1:30:27 Michael Cress - College of Staten Island
1:35:47 Abdul Ali Bah - Community News Institute
1:41:54 Marissa Parrish, Coutney Castellach, Gary Miller
1:51:26 Ben Torto - MST New Visions
2:02:53 Paula Coyle - SIEDC
2:12:19 Beverly Newhouse - Richmond Senior Services
2:17:07 Michael Devito - NYC ID
2:19:00 Michael Coates - Make The Road NY
2:24:34 Wayne Roy - Troynet
2:28:43 Mamadou Andauou
2:30:41 Nicky Odelavac - Community Agency for Senior Citizens
2:37:57 Kayza Kleinman - Jewish Community Council / Non Profit Help Desk
2:44:44 Vincent Lenzo - Staten Island NFP Org.
2:48:20 Valerie D'Angelo - Student - College of Staten Island
2:51:10 Lou Klepner - NYC Community Fiber Project
3:04:32 Vincent Grippo - DOITT
3:07:13 conclusion - Sean Belle

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

NYC Broadband Hearing - Staten Island - Mar 5 2009

The NYC Broadband Advisory Committee will hold its fifth public hearing in Staten Island on March 5 2009.

: Thursday, March 5, 2009, 11 AM – 3 PM
WHERE: CUNY College of Staten Island (Building 1P)
Recital Hall, The Center for the Arts
2800 Victory Boulevard
Staten Island, NY 10314 [map] [travel info]

Coming on the heels of successful public hearings in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens where hundreds of people attended, the New York City Broadband Advisory Committee will hear from policy experts, Staten Island residents and business people in a Public Meeting of the Broadband Advisory Committee in Staten Island. During this official hearing on the borough’s Broadband status, the City Council seeks to answer the following questions: How important is affordable Broadband to businesses and to under-served communities? How will high-speed Internet connections improve the quality of life for all New Yorkers and their families?

“New York is the most dynamic city in the world. But when it comes to the Internet, we’re working to catch up to other jurisdictions,” said Council Member Brewer, Chair of the New York City Council’s Committee on Technology in Government. Brewer sponsored Local Law 126, which created the NYC Broadband Advisory Committee. “I am excited to work with the Mayor’s Office in making New York a place where you don’t have to pay to go slow. We need affordable high-speed Internet connections to bring in jobs, help schools, and make the city safer.”

According to the Pew Internet and American Life Project in May 2008 Survey, 32% of American households are still not using the Internet at all and “those with less education, those with lower household incomes, and Americans age 65 and older are less likely to have embraced broadband than those who are younger and have higher socio-economic status.” Seeking to address these same imbalances, Broadband Advisory Committee Chairperson, Shaun Belle, and CEO of Mount Hope Housing Company said, “Understanding the challenges to Broadband connectivity for the average New Yorker is a primary focus of the Broadband Advisory Committee; exploring and potentially implementing solutions to address these challenges will be the basis of our future planning.”

Andrew Rasiej, an Advisory Committee Member and the Founder of the Personal Democracy Forum and MOUSE said, “These hearings are critical to focusing broad political attention and building consensus for the need to guarantee all New Yorkers an opportunity to participate in the 21st Century economy.” As of February 2009, President Obama’s stimulus plan includes $7 billion in broadband infrastructure development to ensure the American economy is competitive in the long run.

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