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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