New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

Aaron Short

New York Post Plan calls for free Wi-Fi kiosks on city street corners by Aaron Short

Plan calls for free Wi-Fi kiosks on city street corners

The fastest Wi-Fi in town is coming to street corners around the city — and it won’t cost a cent to use.

City officials have reached a 12-year deal to install 10,000 kiosks in all five boroughs, they said, which according to one of the private operators involved will constitute the “largest and fastest” free Internet program in the world. 

City Councilman Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan), who has pushed to expand wireless access, said the network would encourage other cities to follow New York’s lead.

“We are nearer than ever to universal broadband in public spaces and a meaningful step toward closing the digital divide,” he said.

City and State News Poli-Tech: The digital tools politicos need to gain an edge in 2013 by Aaron Short

Poli-Tech: The digital tools politicos need to gain an edge in 2013

 

Kallos scrolls through several political sites before pulling up votersearch.org, a free website he launched five years ago—one of the first to combine state voter records with online search functions.

The site contains a simple interface requiring a user’s first and last name, birthday and zip code, before it spits back an individual’s registration status, election districts and the location of the voter’s county board of elections.

Voter sites have evolved significantly since then.

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Kallos has been busy building VotersGive.com, a site that allows candidates to create a website that meets campaign finance reporting requirements and gives voters a more substantive portrait of politicians’ backgrounds.

Six New York City Council candidates, including Kallos, have signed up with VotersGive, which Kallos hopes will compete with more established sites including NationBuilder and ActBlue.

“Candidates approached me and said ‘We need a website,’” he explained. “I built it for free, and anyone can use it for free and have a website by that day. This is a democracy platform. I even offered it to my opponents.”