City Council Governmental Operations Chair Applauds Mayor's Tech Agenda
New York, New York – Following Mayor de Blasio's keynote address at Internet Week New York today, Council Member Ben Kallos (District Five, Manhattan), Chair of the New York City Council Committee on Governmental Operations, released the following statement:
"Equality of access to knowledge is a necessity for any free society. Mayor de Blasio's plan to expand broadband access to the information superhighway is essential for a 21st century city that has ignored equality of this fundamental resource for far too long.
We must renegotiate our franchise agreements with Verizon and Time Warner Cable to provide more free and low-cost broadband to begin to put an end to the digital divide. We can follow the lead of Comcast, which has offered free or low-cost computers and internet to families who have a child eligible for free or reduced school lunch across the nation. We must ask for the same and more from companies who do business with our city government.
The Harlem Wi-Fi Network, the largest continuous free public Wi-Fi network in the nation, is a dramatic leap forward for thousands of people who live and work in Harlem. Another key aspect of the plan, re-purposing public payphones to become Wi-Fi hubs, converts outmoded technology into tools we can use.
I also congratulate the Mayor on his “tech talent pipeline” to devote $10 million to recruit and train a workforce for 21st Century quality jobs.
As a software developer, lawmaker and longtime advocate for free broadband, I look forward to living and working in a digital New York City that offers an excellent environment for tech business and activism.
With the new administration's commitment to improving access to government both online and offline, it looks like our city is on track for a long overdue upgrade."