in Geeklife, Internet, New York City Life, Opinions

Fight for empty TV channels to connect New Yorkers to the Internet

I just received this from the Free Press organization, warning me about how New Yorkers won’t be able to use the whitespace signals next year for Internet Connectivity, given the Wireless communication mafia is trying to get a hold of the spectrum, and if we don’t do something about it, we’ll loose the spectrum. We’ll ALL benefit by having this spectrum, it would enable ubiquitous wireless internet access, benefiting every business on the internet with more users. That would surely make cellphone companies scared, imagine a phone that would use that spectrum and communicate via the internet instead (with skype, for free for example, international calls free, access to MyBloop files anywhere, etc.)

With your help, we can deliver high-speed Internet access to more New Yorkers.

What if I told you we could use empty TV channels to connect tens of thousands of New Yorkers to the Internet?

The technology exists today. But some members of the New York City Council are trying to stop us from using it.

The Council has bought into a corporate misinformation campaign, and is now holding a public hearing next Monday to consider a resolution that would keep this technology from the New Yorkers who need it most.

You can help the Council make the right decision by speaking out at the hearing:

WHAT: NYC City Council Hearing on White Spaces
WHEN: Monday, Sept. 29, 10 a.m.
WHERE: City Hall Committee Room, enter at the Intersection of Centre and Worth Streets

The latest front in the battle over universal Internet access is “white spaces” — empty frequencies between TV channels on the public airwaves. In New York City, 20 percent of these television airwaves sit idle. New technology can open this unused spectrum to powerful high-speed Internet services, bringing ubiquitous and affordable broadband to tens of thousands of New Yorkers now left off the grid.

Here’s the problem: Councilmember Gale Brewer and Speaker Christine Quinn have sponsored a draft resolution claiming white space devices could harm the Broadway industry in New York City. They, along with the Broadway League, maintain that white space devices will disrupt the wireless microphones used for Broadway shows. Numerous tests conducted by the FCC show, however, that this is not true.

Meanwhile, lobbyists for the National Association of Broadcasters and cell phone companies have been blitzing federal, state and local governments with misinformation to prevent white spaces from bringing the benefits of broadband to millions of people. They want to hoard this spectrum to stifle innovation and competition. If they win, we all lose.

Too many in this city have been left on the wrong side of the digital divide. The answer to getting New Yorkers connected is right in front of us:

Attend Monday’s Hearing

The hearing will be open to public testimony. Please come and urge the City Council to reject the resolution and speak out for opening up white spaces for a better Internet.

With your help on Monday, we can help deliver the Internet for everyone in New York City.

Thank you,

Timothy Karr
Campaign Director
Free Press

1. Learn more about white spaces at

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