Six key players in the effort to bring universal wi-fi to New York City and the children of the poor who desperately need the Internet for homework and may not have it discuss their fight to provide it first all over Manhattan against the new threat of the LTE-U system which can overpower it and keep everyone bound to the cell phone networks which have billions at stake.Fast and Free: New York’s Vision for Public Wi-Fi Everywhere
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Wi-Fi is the workhorse of the Internet. Currently Wi-Fi carries 60% to 80% of all broadband data traffic on smartphones, laptops, and other mobile devices, far more than cellular networks do. But a new technology is threatening the effectiveness of Wi-Fi – and its ability to create connectivity for all.
Wi-Fi makes wireless Internet access far more available, fast, and affordable – particularly for youth, low-income, and minority populations. The City’s vision of Wi-Fi is one of a “network of networks:”
CityBridge’s LinkNYC franchise will soon replace over 7,500 pay phones across the five boroughs with Wi-Fi hotspot kiosks
The Mayor’s Office is committing funds to install Wi-Fi networks in public housing developments; the MTA is putting wireless access into subway stations; and the New York, Brooklyn, and Queens Public Library systems, as well as the Parks Department, are providing Wi-Fi hotspots across the city
New York City’s Economic Development Corporation has built several Wi-Fi corridors in commercial and industrial areas and will soon do the same in Hurricane Sandy-impacted areas via its RISE : NYC resiliency initiative
The City’s Business Improvement Districts and a web of public and private entities are supplying free public Wi-Fi in Chelsea, Harlem, downtown Brooklyn, and downtown Manhattan, and neighborhoods across NYC
All of that coverage, though, may be at risk due to a plan by many cellular carriers like Verizon and T-Mobile to begin offloading data traffic onto the unlicensed frequencies of our public airwaves – on which Wi-Fi depends – to augment the licensed spectrum they currently use. The interference could slow or even shut down public Wi-Fi systems, shrinking access, undermining digital equity, and scrapping hundreds of millions of dollars marked for improving the social, digital, and economic equity of NYC.
Join New America for a conversation on the suite of initiatives that keep city systems and residents connected, and the forces that threaten to block their visions for equitable governance.
Introduction: Wi-Fi as a public commons
Michael Calabrese @MCalabreseNAF
Director, Wireless Future Project, Open Technology Institute at New America
Keynote: New York – Wi-Fi for all
Maya Wiley @mayawiley
Counsel to the Mayor, City of New York
Senior Vice President, Center for Economic Transformation, NYC Economic Development Corporation
Colin O’Donnell @colin_odonnell
Chief Innovation Officer, Intersection
CEO and Director of Engineering, CTC Technology & Energy
Chris Szymanski @c_szymanski
Director of Product Marketing & Government Affairs, Broadcom
Greta Byrum @gretabyrum
Acting Director, Resilient Communities Program, New America