Wireless New York and Global Commuincations

In Netroots, New York City, Technology on March 1, 2007 at 6:48 pm

There is a movement out there that is pushing for a long-term plan to improve the broadband infastructure in New York city. Personally, I hope to see this movement taken to the extreme so that we can have complete broadband wireless access citywide. This would be amazing for so many reasons – and it’s not just about me trying to avoid paying Cablevision each month. It’s amazing because it would even further everyone’s ability to communicate and compete on a global level. This includes everyone from corporate employees, to university students, to grassroots activists, to low income individuals who have limited or no access to the internet (aka victims of the digital divide).

Don’t think its possible? Well my wife told me about the internet infastructure in Mauritius Island, and they are doing just that. According to an (outdated) wikipedia posting, she is correct. Maybe I should see if conservapedia has a better posting on the subject. In the meantime, see the following:

A plan by ADB Networks calls for Mauritius to become the first nation to have coast-to-coast wireless internet access. The wireless hot spot currently covers about 60% of the island and is accessible by about 70% of its population. By the end of 2006, antennas should provide access to 90% of the island.

For those interested in joing this movement in NYC, I found an article and event listing over at the Civil Defense blog. Here is some of what he posted:

These local broadband projects are so critical because we have no national broadband strategy. France, Holland, South Korea, and Japan have all blown past the US in connection speeds and prices because they have made broadband construction a national priority and have developed strategies to get the job done.

As a result, decisions about local investment in broadband infrastructure – all of these local muniwireless battles – will determine the way we communicate for the next 100 years. Because we have no national broadband strategy, these decisions are being made at the local level, by mayors and city councils, and that is where we need to act.

So I encourage everyone in New York to attend the first public hearing of the NYC Broadband Advisory Committee on March 30, from 9 AM – 11 AM, in the rotunda of Bronx Borough Hall, 851 Grand Concourse.

Here’s the full announcement…

Broadband Advisory Committee

Co-sponsored by the Office of Adolfo Carrion, the Bronx Borough President and the South Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation (SoBRO), the Broadband Advisory Committee will hold its first public hearing on March 30, from 9 AM – 11 AM, in the rotunda of Bronx Borough Hall, 851 Grand Concourse. Sponsored by Council Member Gale Brewer, Local Law 126 (http://nyccouncil.info/issues/intros_act.cfm?intro=Int%200625%2D2005) created the Broadband Advisory Committee to advise the Mayor and the City Council on how bring affordable broadband to all New York City residents, nonprofit organizations and businesses. The Advisory Committee is comprised of 15 members — 7 Council appointees and 8 Mayoral appointees. At the hearing, the Committee will hear testimony from selected elected officials and policy experts. After that, the general public is invited and encouraged to testify. The Committee would like to hear from the public about the availability and affordability of broadband in their neighborhoods. Additionally, we would like to get input from the public why they use broadband and what they use their high-speed Internet connection for. Does broadband help your children do research on the Internet for their homework? Do you use the Internet to find a job? If you run a small business, how does broadband help your business reach your customers? 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 Committee will report their findings and recommendations to the Mayor and City Council.

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.

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).

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), Chief of Staff to Council Member Gale A. Brewer.


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