Broadband Advisory Committee public hearing today

The first public hearing of the New York City Broadband Advisory Committee is today.

Wakeup Call (6-9am on WBAI 99.5 fm) has been offering a solid introduction to the Committee and the issues, with Council Member Gale Brewer whose bill created the Committee and Laura Forlano from NYCwireless. I was on last week giving something of an introduction.

Now I see AMNY has an article about it in this morning’s paper, “NYC looks to catch up on broadband,” with a quote from yours truly:

“This is not just about wires in the ground and routers on a post,” said Joshua Breitbart, policy director of the People’s Production House, a media accessibility advocacy organization. “This is about the way New Yorkers will communicate for the next 100 years.”

The author contacted me through the blog. Cool. Thanks.

As Laura points out, this is really the first chance New Yorkers have to weigh in on our Internet future. For years already, city officials – from City Council, the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications, the NYPD, Parks Department, and other agencies – have been making plenty of decisions about what kind of broadband Internet we should have in this city. They’ve heard testimony before, but only from industry experts and telecommunications corporations like Verizon and Time Warner. There were public hearings, but being open to the public and the public being invited are two very different things.

The important thing about this hearing is not only that it’s a chance to get your views on the record. The important thing about this hearing is that it is the end of the era where our communications future is determined behind closed doors.

So, if I don’t see you up in the Bronx today, I hope I see you – and hear you – at one of the hearings in the other boroughs.

Stay tuned here for a report on the hearing, my testimony, and more coverage from Wakeup Call.

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