How can we bring municipal broadband to NYC?
On the FCC's abandonment of net neutrality rules, Prof. Susan Crawford wrote recently in the NYT, "There is much to be done at every level of government, but cities are the most promising battleground right now. Mayors, Republican and Democrat alike, are in the business of providing their citizens with services, and fiber infrastructure is just like a city street grid: Economic development, quality of life, new jobs and a thriving competitive market all depend on its presence."
The cities of Chattanooga, TN, Santa Monica, CA and others offer successful examples of municipal broadband in the U.S. But as of this writing, no larger U.S. city has begun a municipal broadband initiative - mostly likely, by starting a pilot project in one geographic area. The goals and benefits of such a sizable initiative would include the following: technology-sector job creation, universal internet access in under-served communities, greater connectivity for city agencies & civic facilities, and network resiliency in emergencies.
On May 19th, 2014, Mayor de Blasio announced his commitment to achieving universal, affordable broadband in NYC, and to appointing a broadband task force.
What proposals can the civic tech community deliver to this new broadband task force as recommendations towards a pilot project of a high-speed municipal network in NYC? We're launching this discussion at the Personal Democracy Forum conference as one of the first public uses of the free & open-source Loomio platform in the U.S., joined by technology & policy experts and community advocates, some of them volunteering from the Open Technology Institute of the New America Foundation.
Anyone is invited to participate in this public discussion and vote on proposals (aye, nay, or abstain). Our approximately five proposals expect to touch on the following: allies in city government and community organizations to invite into this group; existing "dark fiber" availability for a pilot project; funding opportunities in future NYC capital improvement budgets; which borough(s) and anchor institutions are best suited for a pilot; sustainability models of high-speed municipal networks; and who from a public-interest perspective should be nominated to be part of the official NYC task force. Questions & feedback welcome: david at ppolitics.org, and feel free to join. Add comments below under Discussion, and I'll be starting our first proposal to discuss on Thursday, June 5th.
David Moore started a proposal Thu 5 Jun 2014
Recommend that NYC builds a wholesale fiber network so as to ensure retail competition to every home and business. Closed Fri 6 Jun 2014
Recommend to Mayor de Blasio's forthcoming NYC broadband task force that the city government moves to build a new municipal fiber network. Prof. Crawford wrote more on momentum for this in April: http://goo.gl/X8fXPN.
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Thu 5 Jun 2014
It's important that our overall recommendation to the nascent NYC broadband task force emphasizes the legal permissibility and enormous benefits of true municipal broadband. NYC gov't has the exec. authority to lay its own fiber as a primary goal.