Thanks to the wonderful people at the New York City Grassroots Media Coalition, I get to moderate a really amazing panel at the NYC Grassroots Media Conference on February 24:
New York’s Wireless Future
New wireless technology provides an efficient and affordable way to deploy new broadband infrastructure. You can use it to turn your local park into a hotspot or to give affordable access to all of your neighbors. Across the country, local governments are considering whether to build – or to let corporations build – wireless networks that cover an entire city. New York City is just beginning this process. This is the best chance in a generation, if not a century, to come together as a community to decide what we want and need from our communications infrastructure. This panel will bring you up to speed on the discussion.
The people on this panel are:
Michael Lewis, founder of Wireless Harlem Initiative, a New York based non-profit, which is advocating to bring affordable wireless broadband to Harlem in order to close the digital divide;
Laura Forlano, a Board Member of NYCwireless, a community wireless group in New York, and a Ph.D. candidate in Communications at Columbia University researching the socio-economic implications of the use of mobile and wireless technology;
and Bruce Lai, the Chief of Staff to Council Member Gale A. Brewer, the Chair of the Committee on Technology in Government at the New York City Council.
This builds on the panel I moderated at the National Conference for Media Reform on “Owning Our Own Media Infrastructure,” obviously with a very local twist.
You can get a more full understanding of why I think this is so important by reading the statement from The Ethos Group: “Thoughtful Infrastructure as a Platform for Media Reform.”
One key is that “convergence” – the term used to describe the transition from a diverse array of communication media (phone calls, email, music, television, film) to a common, digital medium – means we can use a public dialogue on wi-fi as a point of departure for a comprehensive reimagining of our entire system of communication.
The point of the “New York’s Wireless Future” panel is primarily to pass information from experts to anyone who’s interested in the topic. People’s Production House plans to follow up with another event, which will be more of a town hall session where everyone will be invited to share their needs and desires for a potential public wireless network in New York City.
I’m on a different panel at the GMC called “Dead Trees: Small Magazines and Newspapers in the Digital Age” organized by Chris Anderson. The title says it all. Another important piece of that larger discussion and I’m honored to have been invited into it. (More details on this one to follow.)