New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos


<P>Technology is the great equalizer. In a world where knowledge is power, the Internet provides access to an information superhighway where anyone can learn anything from a better golf swing to a new programming language which provides them with a marketable skill and access to new jobs.</P><P>As a student at the&nbsp;<a href="; target="_BLANK"><strong>Bronx High School of Science</strong></a>, having access to the Internet gave me the opportunity to found a technology consulting firm, featured in the&nbsp;<a href="…; target="_BLANK"><strong>New York Times</strong></a>. My firm went on to provide services to the&nbsp;<a href="; target="_BLANK"><strong>New York Football Giants</strong></a>,&nbsp;<a href="; target="_BLANK"><strong>Pfizer Pharmaceuticals</strong></a>,&nbsp;<a href="http:/; target="_BLANK"><strong>North Shore University Hospital</strong></a>&nbsp;and the State University of New York at&nbsp;<a href="; target="_BLANK"><strong>Albany</strong></a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="; target="_BLANK"><strong>Buffalo</strong></a>. After financing my education, I used these skills to found&nbsp;<a href="; target="_BLANK"><strong></strong></a>, which has recently partnered with&nbsp;<a href="; target="_BLANK"><strong></strong></a>&nbsp;for a global shared law,&nbsp;<a href="; target="_BLANK"><strong></strong></a>&nbsp;to help 12 million New Yorkers verify their voter registrations, and <A HREF="; TARGET="_BLANK"><STRONG></STRONG></A> to put all the voting records for the New York City and State Legislators online for free.</P><P>As your City Council member I will leverage technology to make our government is <strong>transparent, accountable, and open</strong>. We will make City Hall <strong>transparent</strong> by adopting&nbsp;<a href="; target="_BLANK"><strong>Open Government Data Principles</strong></a>, so that information like our laws and our budgets will be made freely available to the public to use in making government <strong>accountable</strong> with projects like <a href="; target="_BLANK"><strong>Open Congress</strong></a>, <a href="; target="_BLANK"><strong></strong></a> and <a href="; target="_BLANK"><strong>Project Sunlight</strong></a>. I will also fight to open the flood gates of knowledge by supporting our public libraries and advocating for free universal wireless so that every New York City resident has the same opportunity to learn from these valuable resources. I will also advocate for use of&nbsp;<a href="; target="_BLANK"><strong>Free and Open Source Software (FOSS)</strong></a>&nbsp;in government to save billions a year, reinvigorate New York City's technology sector, and to create new jobs in a City that once boasted "<a href="; target="_BLANK"><strong>Silicon Alley</strong></a>."</P><P><EM>Many of the ideas from this platform have already been partially adopted by Mayor Mike Bloomberg as part of his initiative for a "<A HREF="; TARGET="_BLANK"><STRONG>Connected City</STRONG></A>."</EM></P>

The Jewish Voice New Bill Could Bring Free Internet for NYC Apartments by Ilana Siyance

New Bill Could Bring Free Internet for NYC Apartments

The New York City council is considering a bill which, if passed, could turn internet into a free building amenity such as hot water and heat.

As per Time Out NY, Councilman Ben Kallos introduced a bill proposing that all new construction in NYC should be required to have wiring for internet. The bill would also require that within three years, all landlords with over 10 units should provide free broadband internet to residents. Kallos, elected in 2013 and lauded by the Times for his “fresh ideas ”, represents District 5 including the Upper East Side, Midtown East, Roosevelt Island and East Harlem.



Curbed Should Landlords Be Required to Pay for Your Internet? by Caroline Spivack

Should Landlords Be Required to Pay for Your Internet?

In Ben Kallos’s view, internet access is as much a basic necessity as heat and hot water. And he has a point, after a year in which a lot of us began our remote-work lives. More than 500,000 households in New York City lack internet access — and that’s why Kallos, the Upper East Side City Councilmember, has put forth a proposal requiring that all new residential buildings, as well as those undergoing renovations, be wired for broadband and that owners of all existing buildings with ten or more units provide it to their tenants gratis. After a three-year grace period to get everything up and running, that would give virtually all New Yorkers internet access — in theory, at least. It’s a laudable goal, one that Kallos calls “the right thing to do.”


But shouldn’t universal broadband be a public amenity to begin with? (In many communities across the U.S., it already is.) What we’d be doing here, instead, is asking private-property owners to pay private companies in what amounts to a large giveaway to Spectrum, Verizon, and the other telecom giants who dominate the business. Kallos, of course, adopts the position — not unreasonable — that this is the way to get things done right now, rather than waiting for the much bigger, citywide shift laid out in the city’s Internet Master Plan. That is a yearslong, multibillion-dollar undertaking (and it has taken us since 2014 just to get to this point), and it will not, in the end, create a true citywide public-internet utility; instead, it will rely on a mix of public and private partnerships. “This is more immediate,” Kallos says, “and even in the jurisdictions that offer municipal broadband, it’s adding competition to the market, but it doesn’t make it free,” he told Curbed. “You have a lot of New Yorkers who, when the rent is done — the MetroCard, the groceries, the prescriptions are done — there’s just nothing left to pay for internet.”

Certainly true, but you have to suspect that landlords, or at least those owning unregulated apartments, will simply pass those costs right through in the form of rent increases. “Who is really going to end up paying for it? Is it the consumers, again?” asks Jane Coffin, a senior vice president at Internet Society, a nonprofit that advocates for greater access. The bill would prohibit landlords from spiking rents, but Kallos concedes that it doesn’t set fines or create an enforcement mechanism; that would fall to the city’s housing department, which is already overwhelmed. “I would start with public investment stepping up first,” Coffin says, noting that landlords can lawyer up against any new mandate. “You don’t want to run into a five-year battle in court with these cats.”

“Ultimately those free-market apartments will see rent increases to cover the costs. It’s human nature — it’s not greed. You have to cover the costs somewhere,” said Jay Martin, the executive director of the Community Housing Improvement Program, which represents operators of more than 400,000 apartments in the city. Martin’s greatest concern, he says, is for owners of rent-stabilized apartments, who would be on the hook to retrofit decades-old buildings with broadband and unable to recoup those costs through rent because increases for those units are set annually by the Rent Guidelines Board. Kallos’s bill, though, would set up city-funded grants to help landlords who can show that installing the infrastructure out of pocket would be a financial strain.

All that said, internet advocates aren’t ready to dismiss this bill. Most important, for Coffin, is ensuring that landlords aren’t pushed into a no-other-options situation for good. “There’s a balance here. You want the connectivity in the building, but are you locking in a company that landlords may not be able to afford later on? You don’t want to eliminate choice,” said Coffin. Incentives, such as a tax break, could make property owners more amenable to footing the bill for tenants’ internet. As long as there’s room for competition from smaller networks, suggests Brian Hall, the founder of NYC Mesh, a volunteer-run collective that connects tenants and buildings to the internet using fiber cables and wireless routers, the legislation is “the logical thing to do.” Hall explains that when Verizon and Spectrum install cables in a building, they can effectively keep any other entity out and maintain a monopoly; requiring the owners to do it during construction and renovations would remove that obstacle and makes it easier for NYC Mesh and other small community networks to offer a cheap alternative to the telecom giants. “Ideally, the internet would be regarded just as water. You don’t think about where your water comes from — it’s just there in your apartment,” said Hall. “This could make it a lot cheaper for the residents, and a lot simpler, and move us closer to that.”

Architectural Digest TECHNOLOGYFree Internet Could Soon Be Coming to Every New York City Home by By Shivani Vora

Free Internet Could Soon Be Coming to Every New York City Home

Internet, Kallos believes, needs to be a utility in the same way that electricity, heat, hot water, and phone service are. Landlords who can’t afford to provide it can apply for aid, although he says that they’re looking at an investment that starts as low as $14.95 a month to buy internet in bulk.

The digital gap among New Yorkers and the need for internet became glaring during the pandemic. With remote work and schooling as a way of life and Zoom as a mainstay, New Yorkers who had to live without it faced roadblock after roadblock: Students couldn’t keep up with school, and employees couldn’t do their jobs. Kallos’s proposal is the first of its kind, according to Shaun Pappas, a real estate lawyer at Starr Associates in New York.

Lowincome developments such as these in Manhattans Lower East Side would benefit from the legislation.

Z100 New York City May Require A Law That Gives Free Internet To Every Home by Allie Gold

New York City May Require A Law That Gives Free Internet To Every Home

A law requiring free internet to every apartment in New York City may actually be coming!

Council member Ben Kallos proposed a new bill that would require landlords with ten or more units to give tenants free internet. “Such dwellings would be subject to additional technical requirements,” the bill reads, “including the installation of Ethernet ports and wiring to facilitate internet access. Violations would be punished under the Housing Maintenance Code.”

As reported by Patch, Kallos wants the bill to pass in order to help underprivileged New Yorkers.. There are currently 500,000 residents who don't have Internet access. Kallos believe the service is a utility like electricity, heat and hot water. Landlords that can't afford it can apply for aid.

Shaun Pappas, attorney specializing in the representation of developers, lenders and investors, believes this new proposal will likely pass. “The city thinks that internet is an essential service for everyone, and it’s in their interest to serve underprivileged residents and give them whatever they need to live their basic lives,” he said. “Internet is definitely part of that. They’ll probably provide a basic plan, but you’ll have to pay to upgrade to a higher speed,” he says.

Tara King-Brown, a real estate broker with the Corcoran Group, says if the bill doesn't get passed, landlords who do offer the service will attract more residents. “They will attract more buyers and renters and can build its cost into the monthly rental or maintenance fees,” she says. “Internet today goes beyond being an amenity. It’s the great equalizer that every New Yorker needs and deserves.”

Yahoo News Free Internet Could Soon Be Coming to Every New York City Home by Shivani Vora

Free Internet Could Soon Be Coming to Every New York City Home

A law requiring free internet for every apartment in New York City? If some city officials have their way, it will be a reality sooner rather than later. Council member Ben Kallos proposed a new bill on Thursday that would require landlords who own buildings with ten or more units to provide tenants with internet or “its functional equivalent,” as the proposal stated. “Such dwellings would be subject to additional technical requirements,” the bill reads, “including the installation of Ethernet ports and wiring to facilitate internet access. Violations would be punished under the Housing Maintenance Code.”

The news site Patch reported that Kallos wanted the bill passed to help underprivileged New Yorkers—there are around 500,000 of them who don’t have internet access. Living without it means that applying for food benefits, working remotely, and even reserving COVID-19 vaccine appointments is a challenge, to say the least.

Upper East Side Patch Free Internet For Every NYC Apartment, New Bill Proposes by Matt Troutman

Free Internet For Every NYC Apartment, New Bill Proposes

new bill proposed Thursday by Council Member Ben Kallos would require all existing apartments to offer free broadband internet access within three years. Newly constructed apartments would also have to be wired for broadband under the bill.

Kallos said the bill will help close a "digital divide" among New Yorkers — 500,000 of whom don't have internet access and struggle to apply for food benefits, work remotely, do homework or book COVID-19 vaccine appointments. He said the internet should be considered a utility.

"I can't make internet a utility, only the FCC can, but I can make it required in everyone's apartment just like heat, electricity, hot water and phone service," he said.

The coronavirus pandemic put the internet's necessity into stark relief.

Find out what's happening in New York City with free, real-time updates from Patch.

WIRED A New York Lawmaker Wants to Ban Police Use of Armed Robots by Sidney Fussell

A New York Lawmaker Wants to Ban Police Use of Armed Robots

“I’m concerned that a democracy is turning domestic police into a militarized zone,” she says.

This increasing militarization is part of why Kallos, the New York councilmember, wants to “avoid investing in an ever escalating arms race when these dollars could be better spent” elsewhere.

Lin, the Cal Poly professor, worries that many police officers do not live in the communities they patrol, and remote policing could worsen an “us-versus-them” divide. The Digidog would not be banned under Kallos' bill, but Lin says military drones offer a cautionary tale. They too began strictly as reconnaissance devices before being weaponized.

Kallos and Silicon Harlem Applaud Free Broadband for Students from Charter and Call on All Other Providers to Do the Same

Friday, March 13, 2020

Statement from Council Member Ben Kallos:

Technology is going to be a major tool in fighting the spread of novel coronavirus, but only for those who aren't trapped on the wrong side of the digital divide.

We've worked with Charter to bridge the digital divide with Internet Assist for students on free and reduced lunch or seniors receiving supplemental social security. Today, Charter announced free broadband and Wi-Fi for every student K-12 to college who does not already have broadband for the next 60 days.

Free and low-cost broadband for all students is the key element we needed to allow our children to continue their learning in the safety and security of their homes.

Thank you to Silicon Harlem for their leadership and partnership. Thank you to Charter for leading by example and I call on every other phone and cable internet provider to take similar steps to save us all.


Statement from Clayton Banks Co-Founder and CEO of Silicon Harlem:

The 2020 pandemic sheds light on the need for connectivity, devices, and digital literacy for our workforce, students, and underserved communities. I stand with Ben Kallos, and commend the effort of Charter to be a part of the solution.