• Comments to NYC Broadband Advisory Committee

last modified August 6, 2011 by tomlowenhaupt

The below comments were presented to the New York City Broadband Advisory Committee, March 3, 2008 at LaGuardia Community College.













































I’m Thomas Lowenhaupt, a resident of Jackson Heights, former member of Queens Community Board 3 and chair of its Technology Advisory and Communications Committees. I’m a member of the New Media Advisory Board here at LaGuardia Community College. I am the founder and acting director of Connecting.nyc Inc., a New York State not-for–profit created to acquire and develop the .nyc top level domain – other familiar Top Level Domains are .com, .org, .edu, .gov, and .us. Our goal is to acquire .nyc.

While completing my BA at Queens College, I had a job around the corner from this fine institution and took one course here, so I consider myself an Alum and feel very at home.

I’m here today to speak as a proud New Yorker who sees our city as the finest mix of people the world has ever known. That might seem unduly boastful. But I travel and I read and I truly believe that there has never been a more caring, capable, and influential city in the history of mankind.

But I see dark days ahead if we don’t shape the Internet to maintain our leadership role. The Internet is the dominant force shaping our world. Because it’s an invisible force, its impact is not adequately reported. But it is changing personal, family, social, civic, and business life. It will change borders, cultures, and relationships of all types, in a manner and with a speed never before witnessed by mankind.

And if we (New York City) continue the way we are, if we don’t grab the reigns of this vital resource, if we don’t make the Internet work for us, we will be supplanted as the world’s leading city. Indeed, without such fundamentals as a name space on the Internet (so that the world can find us and we can find one another) and with an inadequate telecommunications system, within my lifetime, I’d expect us to be viewed as a quaint historic former world capital.

New York City did not request the Internet. Its designers did not consult our city or even consider the needs of our city in creating its basic design. Today’s Internet is an accident, a quirk that escaped from the labs of a military-industrial collaboration and has come to dominate our world. It was not conceived as the foundation telecommunications infrastructure for our city. From our city’s perspective it is a totally unplanned, top down system imposed upon us.

We did not request it.

But we need to respond. We need to make the Internet work for us.

Connecting.nyc Inc. has initiated an effort to acquire the .nyc top level domain. Paris and Berlin are seeking the .paris and .berlin names. I am confident that our efforts will correct one of the limitations imposed upon our city by the poorly planned Internet,  and that within the next few years we’ll reap the benefits from domain names like www.hotels.nyc, www.schools.nyc, www.hospitals.nyc, www.mayor.nyc, www.council.nyc, www.Brooklyn.nyc, www.Queens.nyc, and www.news.nyc. Together with Paris and Berlin we expect to correct this Internet lacuna.

But a much bigger job is creating a robust telecommunications system. There is nothing more vital to the future of our city than a quality communication system. We need to be able to connect with one another and the world with ease. Communication with the world is perhaps outside the purview of this Advisory Committee, but providing for local communication is its charter.

I’ve heard that 100 megabits is what many other locations currently have. We should seek a higher goal. New York City should be “the” city with the infrastructure for people engaged in intellectual pursuits.

100 years ago a committee much like this one was created to facilitate the transition from an agricultural to an industrial era. The Commissioners Plan of 1811 was the result. It established the city’s basic street grid – 1st Street to 236th Street, First Avenue to 12th Avenue.

That advisory board saw the future and set a course that has served us well. I urge you to make a strong case for our vital telecommunications needs and to organize an effort to assure that it is fulfilled.

Thank You.

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