#WAITING4FIOSForum 11.17.15  In 2008, Verizon promised the people of New York City that it would wire all corners of the city with high speed fiber optic cable, bringing competition to internet, video and phone service in New York City in order to improve service and bring down prices. Verizon promised to make high speed reliable and affordable internet available to any New Yorker who wants it. Now, 7 years later, too
many New Yorkers are still #WAITING4FIOS!


Common Cause/NY, Consumers Union, and Borough President Eric Adams  are co-sponsoring a FiOS public forum on Tuesday, November 17th at 7 PM at Brooklyn Borough Hall.  Obtaining Verizon FiOS and the impediments to obtaining that service.

AKNA Will Be Attending

Please join Eric Adams, Common Cause/NY and the Consumers Union
Tuesday, November 17th. All are welcome to attend and be heard. Click here to RSVP

More Information:
Brooklyn Borough Hall |askeric@brooklynbp.nyc.gov | www.brooklyn-usa.org
209 Joralemon Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201


Verizon FiOS request for Right of Way

Verizon FiOS has heard the AKNA internet group’s pleas and is surveying our street for possible installation! You might be receiving a letter in the mail asking for Right of Way or Access to your home in order to commence with the installation. Here are some answers to common questions:

1. Granting Right of Way or Access does not require you to subscribe to FiOS service once it is installed. Rather, it gives you (and any future residents) the option to do so at any time in the future. You do not have to pay unless you choose to subscribe.

2. What is FiOS? FiOS is Verizon’s brand of fiber internet, which offers speeds up to 1000 mbps. For comparison, if you have Verizon DSL now, you’re getting between 3 – 15 mbps, which is 0.3% – 1.5% of fiber speeds. In real world terms, this means streaming video won’t stutter, websites will load almost instantaneously, and your internet connection will be more reliable. FiOS also offers TV service and land-line as part of bundle, but it routes all three services over one dataline.

3. We won’t know how they will run the fiber and get it into our homes, but Verizon requires Right of Way before its engineers can assess the site for installation strategies. Yes, this uncertainty is troublesome, but it is going to be less invasive than the gas-line installations of last year.

4. We’re not certain that we need unanimity, but it’s safe to assume so. For example, if I were to refuse ROW, and the fiber was running West to East (Flatbush to E 21st) then I would be foreclosing access to all houses East of me. There’s also the chance that if not enough people grant ROW/Access, then Verizon passes us over. If that is the case THERE WILL NOT BE A SECOND CHANCE for a long time.

5. Internet speed affects property value. Multiple articles and studies have been published to that effect:

6. Verizon will not be changing the existing telephone or cable wiring in your home. This merely puts a fiber terminal (a small metal box) in your house. If you choose Fiber service, it’s up to you to figure out how you want to send the signal around your home (Ethernet, WiFi, or over existing copper).

Please email Rex and/or Ian with any more questions you might have, look for updates on this site, and crossed fingers that the terraces enter the 21st century this year!

City Council Hearing

The whole council hearing was slow and inept because our Council Members, like NYC Members of Congress, get a few bucks from Verizon, etc. as well.

Nevertheless, Councilmember Brad Lander (“Spanky”) managed to get to the point.  (Look up your City Councilmember funding from Verizon?)

Testimony to the Public Service Commission (PSC) is here

Resident Survey

The AKNA IT project will produce choice for affordable communication services. Without choice selecting affordable options for these services are unlikely if not impossible. Thank you for responding.

bird phone tag

AKNA Mail 2

We began this project in June 2015 following a visit from Chris Wasserman, Verizon Engineer.  He agreed to answer any question.  We sent four in July 26, 2015.  He responded August 12, 2015.

From: Wasserman, Christopher
Sent: Wed August 12, 2015 11:51 AM
To: Rex Curry
Subject: Albemarle Questions

  1. What will the installation cost anything?  No
  2. Will the new line set up be as it is across the street?
    I don’t know how it is set up across the street
  3. Do you want hard copies (email summaries) of correspondence with PSC, CWA and V?
    I just need to know which option everyone likes
  4. Can I get any encouragement?  I have 12 households signed up.

See correspondence with Verizon Headquarters and Political Representatives here.

We sent the following reply.

Thank you, it is good to have a person to talk to about our future.

The conditions of the copper lines will continue to deteriorate on the North side of the Terrace. We made a brief video that answers question #2 in detail See it Here   We will be glad to schedule a site visit at any time for the north side of the Terrace.

On question #3, we can accept all three in the following order of preference for the south side of the Terrace.

  1. Along our common roof line in conduit suitable for copper and fiber
  2. Along our community owned easement below grade, suitable for copper and fiber
  3. Along a fully refurbished line that is currently in use (but failing) through our cellars that is suitable for copper and fiber

As the “through building” lines have deteriorated, the current preference for the north side is:

  1. In conduit suitable for copper and fiber across the roof line
  2. In conduit suitable for copper and fiber across the easement and below grade

Finally, we are working on the issue with people on Kenmore and the north side of Albemarle Terrace.  We will have everyone on north side signed up by the end of the month.


AKNA Mail 1

coors image

Letters to Verizon and our political representatives were mailed 7.17.2015

The image above represents our first set of formal letters to Verizon officials and AKNA political representatives. We shall see if a response occurs and report them in future posts. (See ongoing communication with V-Engineer here.

The correspondence went to Verizon’s engineering staff, the heads of franchise operations at the DoITT and Verizon’s Franchise Director.   The letters expressed our interest in the development of a relationship that would lead to affordable high-speed internet services over existing copper lines or fiber.

We requested a follow-up from their offices regarding the engineers survey of the Terraces  June 24, 2015 to accomplish

  1. reliable, non-crackling and buzzing voice lines, and second,
  2. data lines that would not repeatedly fail or throttle down to one or two megabits per second.

Not too much to ask really.

On the South side of the Terraces we agreed to three methods for review and final selection (signature page above).  These were

  1. along our common roof line in conduit suitable for copper and fiber
  2. along our community owned easement suitable for copper and fiber or
  3. along a fully refurbished line that is currently in use (but failing) through our cellars that is suitable for copper and fiber

To our political representatives Congresswoman  Clark and Councilmember Eugene we requested their personal advocacy among their peers regarding the lack of service and help in getting an appropriate response for service  from Verizon (or Cablevision).  We also asked for the participation of the technology officer in their respective offices by monitoring our progress as of July 2015.

If nothing else, this website will be a record of our experience as a small historic district in Brooklyn attempting to join the 21st century.


The following is best summed up in this “City Council” post . Did anyone else complain or ask for accountability from Verizon who pays its CEO $30 million a year?  I know, you’re afraid the big bad V will take your smart phones away. Really? By the way, if you did and you have correspondence from from V or DoITT please share.

From: Subject Received Size Categories
RE: FiOS Service Availability Request
2126 Albemarle Terrace
BROOKLYN, NY 11226 — Rex Curry 10:05 AM June 23, 2015

Good morning Mr. Curry:

Thank you for your inquiry.  Please accept this e-mail as written confirmation that Verizon has received your complaint and will respond as soon as possible, but no later than 10 business days from today.

Best regards,

Will Freshwater
Video Franchise Service Manager
140 West Street
New York, NY 10007
Freshwater, William A Verizon Response – FiOS Video Service Availability Request
2126 ALBEMARLE TR, BROOKLYN, NY 11226 — Rex Curry 9:42 AM 17 KB

Exactly 10 Days latter this email arrives the deadline minute (hmmmm I sense V-robo)

June 30, 2015 @ 9:42 AM

Good morning Mr. Curry:

Thank you for your patience while we investigated your inquiry. Our Service Deployment team is in the process of surveying your neighborhood to determine how to best deploy FiOS video service to your building.

Once that survey is complete, our local representatives will contact the owners of your building and of adjacent properties to obtain written permission granting access for placement of our facilities.

Verizon cannot begin construction to deploy FiOS service to your address until we receive that permission. We will inform you when the situation changes.

Please feel free to contact me directly if you have any questions.

Thank you.

Will Freshwater
Video Franchise Service Manager
140 West Street
New York, NY 10007

and then I got this response:

I am in receipt of your cable complaint SR #1-1-1117511421, to New York City’s Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (“DoITT”) regarding your request for Verizon FiOS service.

Verizon sent this agency the following update:

 “Our Service Deployment team is in the process of surveying your neighborhood to determine how to best deploy FiOS video service to your building. Once that survey is complete, our local representatives will contact the owners of your building and of adjacent properties to obtain written permission granting access for placement of our facilities.  Verizon cannot begin construction to deploy FiOS service to your address until we receive that permission.”

 “We will inform you when the situation changes.”

Thank you for contacting the City of New York


Peter J. Schwab
Executive Director, Franchise Administration
New York City Department of Information Technology & Telecommunications
2 MetroTech Center, 4th Floor
Brooklyn, NY 11201

SandyNet of Sandy, OR

Sandy, Oregon is a rural town of 3600, so they don’t have a whole lot in common with our neighborhood when it comes to information infrastructure. But they did get fed up with ISPs who refused to run a broadband data line to their town hall, and built their own Gigabit fiber network, available to citizens at $40 or $60/month (depending on speed). They did it without using tax dollars, and the project is on track to break even in roughly half the time modeled. Read about how they did it, or watch the video below about all the benefits it is generating for this town.  See the AKNA condition here.

It says a lot that our nation’s largest metropolis cannot cut through the red tape created by the corporations that control our connections to provide that kind of power to its citizens, but a small town can. We’re proud of Sandy’s accomplishment, even if also a little jealous.

Susan Crawford

This is not about us. The most important hour you can spend on this issue is with Susan Crawford. Here’s why:

  1. Americans need a fast, reliable Internet. They are not getting it.
  2. The market has failed to supply this new, but basic need.
  3. A utility model will make it available at reasonable prices for all.
  4. Public pressure to change existing policy is needed.

Telecom companies and give thousands of dollars every year to NYS legislature and New York City’s government gets $150M+ every year.

Susan Crawford knows why this is not in the public interest. Watch it…

Thank you for spending the time.  Now you know why your IT bill continues to rise.

“Because America has deregulated the entire high-speed internet access sector, the result is expensive, second-rate carefully curated wired services for the rich, provided by Comcast and Time Warner; expensive, third-rate, carefully curated wireless services (or no service at all ) for those who cannot afford a wire; close cooperation among incumbent providers of wired and wireless services; and no public commitment to advance communications networks the rest of the developed world is adopting.”

Susan Crawford, Captive Audience: The Telecom Industry and Monopoly Power in the New Gilded Age, Yale University Press (2013), pg. 260.

As a percentage of the population, fewer Americans have high-speed internet access than the people of South Korea.  There is a reason for that and its not good.



This is an outreach page. It will list people and organizations who are leading the way for reliable and affordable access to the Internet. Suggestions and comments to improve the resource page are welcome.

This outfit works for a free and open internet.  They work in support of ISOC, to assure the beneficial, open evolution of the global Internet.  They can help promote local initiatives that help solve problems faced the New York area. New York Chapter is here.

Those heading for deep end of sustaining net neutrality turn to this resource  for your professional development as an ISOC member in the New York area.  The “orgs” and “sources” list on this site is extensive.  If you come across one that is especially useful for a neighborhood like yours or mine (AKNA) please let us know. See menu “CONTACT.”

DoITT Report Summary

V no progress

The findings of the report are as follows:

  1. Verizon is not in compliance with its agreement since it has not truly “passed” all residential households in New York City.

The report states, “…the argument that “passing” a premises with fiber optic cable includes no requirement of any proximity to that premises is manifestly untenable. At a minimum, the term “passed” must be understood to require sufficient proximity to permit Verizon to comply, at least as a rule, with its six-month deadline to fill NSIs.”  According to the franchise agreement, Verizon can recommend “non-standard installations”, which is jargon for offering Direct TV to customers or limiting service to the use of a DSL modem.

  1. Verizon continues to show residential household addresses as “unavailable” despite claiming to have passed all residential households in the City.

The FiOS franchise agreement provides that an order for service received for a residential household after that premises is “passed” with fiber optic cable must be satisfied within six months of the order. But if the order cannot be filled within six months, Verizon must notify the resident, explain the reason for the delay, and state a new deadline not more than six additional months away, for filling the order. This order for the first service to a building is referred to in the contract as a “non-standard installation,” or NSI

The following findings charge Verizon with and avoiding customer requests by “cooking the data” resisting requests for data and attempting to cover it up during the City’s audit.

  1. Verizon does not complete all non-standard installation service requests within the six-month and twelve-month deadlines required by Section 5.4.2 of the franchise agreement.
  1. Verizon’s procedure was to not accept and log a request for cable service at a premises that Verizon had not “passed,” a violation of Section 2.5 of Appendix A of the franchise agreement.
  1. Verizon did not consistently record an NSI with “yes” or “no” indicators and left some NSI indicators blank. Verizon did not communicate to prospective customers when service would be available for the non-standard installation and did not treat inquiries in a consistent manner.
  1. Verizon does not communicate accurately and effectively with prospective customers.
  1. Verizon failed to cooperate fully and timely with DoITT’s audit in violation of Section 11.1 of the franchise agreement.
  1. Verizon’s complaint process focuses only on paying subscribers, and Verizon generally does not accept complaints or inquiries from prospective customers
  1. Anecdotal evidence shows that Verizon, in some instances, does not provide timely service unless the management company enters into a bulk agreement for the building.
  1. Verizon does not maintain a manual of procedures.
  1. Data integrity issues exist within Verizon’s database

Call to Action



The approximate FiOS footprint in four of NYC’s 5 boroughs as of June 30, 2014 (via the Broadband Map) Brooklyn and the AKNA area is highlighted (right)

A letter to our representatives in the City Council and U.S. Congress is being prepared. It will call their attention to this website resource and cover the following points.

Your comments and suggestions are requested on the following. In addition, AKNA members are asked to share any contact you may have enjoyed with Yvette Clark or Mathiew Eugene over the years.

AKNA Cong Coun DisrictsAKNA is in the Ninth Congressional District (left).  This District is ranked fiftieth  in the nation and it is the lowest ranking district in New York City for access to quality broadband services.

Yvette Clark’s position on “net neutrality” was right on the mark at the beginning of the year.  The security of our district regarding people to people communication was the key issue her office presented.  The right words are not enough.

AKNA is in the Fortieth City Council District (left) and shares in the poor ranking dilemma of Brooklyn’s access to quality and security.  Council member Eugene’s primary focus on young people is greatly admired, as no group in New York City needs these services more greatly.

Actions aimed at Verizon by our representatives are needed.  A thoughtful and coordinated approach toward the behemoth that is Verizon is needed to fully understand the dynamic between NYC government, its agencies such as DoITT, and NYS and Federal policies on this question.  All confront the ability of the FCC to encourage and require compliance.

The value of tax rebates to the providers (Verizon in our case) on the cost of infrastructure “deliverables” will be measured by the FCC’s new requirements for higher speed delivery to customers. The question AKNA’s media advocates and political representatives must ask is this:

If the ISPs do not get their speeds to FCC state and city standards will they still get all their lucrative tax credits and related incentives?

No doubt Verizon and their subsidiaries such as Earthlink will continue to sell DSL modems and service, but…

Verizon will be in violation consumer laws and regulations if they call it “broadband” and attempt to use DSL’s lower speeds and quality as an excuse for not deploying broadband to all Americans in a timely way and in compliance with “net neutrality” rules

The New York City Council’s response to the Mayor’s FY 2015 Budget and 2014 Report said, “Last year, Verizon agreed to pay the City $50 million because of delays in projects associated with the Emergency Communications Transformation Project, the large scale effort to transform and consolidate the City’s 911 Emergency Dispatch System.”

The potential of an injurious relationship between Verizon and the needs of New York City’s residents concerns us greatly. The $50M fine and the June 2015 DoITT report suggests a very serious of review of this relationship is needed. It seems that instead of moving forward, Verizon has decided that New York City needs to be punished for demanding accountability.

The FCC main point in the 2015 Broadband Progress Report follows:

“Reflecting advances in technology, market offerings by broadband providers and consumer demand, the FCC updated its broadband benchmark speeds to 25 megabits per second (Mbps) for downloads and 3 Mbps for uploads.”

The 4 Mbps/1 Mbps standard set in 2010 was deemed inadequate for evaluating whether advanced broadband is being deployed to all Americans in a timely way.  DSL services to 4 million of AT&T’s 16 million broadband subscribers and 2.6 million of Verizon’s 9.2 million subscribers will not meet this new standard. AT&T’s fastest DSL offerings only reach 6 Mbps down, while Verizon’s DSL speeds top out at <10 Mbps, and a Verizon spokesperson speaking to Ars Technica, said, “we currently do not have any plans to enhance that.[DSL].”


Wired and Wireless

The language of telecommunications takes some getting used to, so here is a brief summary of the basics.

Line Technologies are:


Fiber to the Premise
(FTTP) is the “Gold Standard” in broadband technology. FTTP is the most expensive to deploy, but can deliver consistently high speeds reaching 1 Gigabit (1,000 Mbps) and higher.

The companies can “data cap’ you for wireless, meaning go over = pay more. Fiber is a fixed monthly fee for service and competitive via ISP providers.

Cable Modem uses coaxial cable connection to deliver broadband with download speeds ranging from 6 Megabits (Mbps) to over 50 Mbps. Bandwidth is managed through shared connections. Therefore, although broadband is widely available throughout New York State, advertised speeds may not always be maintained during peak usage times.

Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) uses copper telephone lines to deliver broadband with download speeds generally fewer than 10 Mbps. Aging networks can degrade service over time, which can decrease speeds delivered to the home.

Note; Many people will connect their DSL into a Router (NetGear/Linksys, etc.) and then use its the router’s wireless transmission in their homes to connect to growing list of ‘smart home’ devices such telephones, computers, TVs, DVD players, game consoles, security systems, home/pet watch cams, heating and ventilation systems, even cooking and cleaning equipment.

Broadband Over Power Lines (BPL) uses existing electric wiring along with fiber to deliver broadband through electric outlets. Requires special equipment installed at the home with limited availability in New York State.  Not to be confused with in-home power line devises that use the wires in your home for the same purpose.

Wireless Technologies are:

Fixed Wireless/ WiMax uses a combination of a fiber backbone and wireless towers to deliver broadband at speeds comparable to DSL. It is quickly deployed at lower costs with a wide reach. Many plans have data usage caps.

Mobile Broadband is a combination of cellular and data service generally for use on mobile devices. Typically complements wireline connections, but some companies provide home broadband service delivered over mobile broadband networks. Many plans have caps that limit usage.

Satellite is a two-way transmission of Internet data passed between satellite and a dish placed at the home. Because data traverses long distances, latency delays can occur. Most plans have data caps, but satellite broadband is 100% available in New York State.

White Space is an emerging technology that uses the empty fragments of TV spectrum scattered between frequencies. It is less expensive to deploy in areas without major infrastructure, with the ability to travel through physical obstacles, such as trees and mountains, without diminished signal. The FCC requires networks to follow strict requirements not to interfere with existing broadcasts.


The videos posted below were taken just for fun… But, then again they are a record of the existing and rapidly deteriorating condition of our 19th c. phone lines.  Don’t get me wrong, this copper is important to us, it remains available for communication during power outages, it is reliable if it is well maintained, so have a look. I think we are in trouble. The north side line…

This was in 2013 by 2015 Verizon Helped us enter the 21st. c.

The south side line condition

There is no Planet B — we have to get this one right.

DoITT Slams Verizon

DoITT is the agency responsible for a level of review.  Please volunteer to delve into its mysteries and possible service to AKNA.

Here is a link:

DoiTT logo  Website: DoITT

June 18, 2014  DoITT Report Slams Verizon

The New York City’s Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT) June 18, 2015 report analyzed Verizon’s FiOS service in New York City and concluded that it failed to deliver by a wide margin.  The audit found 40,000 open requests for FiOS service 75% been open for a year or longer.

Verizon responded to DoITT’s findings on June 12, 2015. The full text of the response is included as an addendum to the DoITT report.  DoITT has made it clear that Verizon’s responses did not materially alter the facts stated in the findings.

  • It has spent $3.5 billion in its New York-area FiOS rollout of 15,000 miles of fiber.
  • That the report is made public just before labor negotiations begin with the largest union is a ploy.
  • The report is based on erroneous factual conclusions and incorrect interpretations of the Agreement, particular its conclusions on Verizon’s passing all of the households in the City with fiber-optic facilities.
  • The challenge we have is gaining access to properties which of course would expand availability. We look forward to working with the City to seek solutions to this issue.

If you subscribe to WSJ the story is HERE.  The full  report can be downloaded as a PDF HERE .  Or go to the DoITT site above with option for a text version and other documents on this issue.

See Summary (here), if you want to fight against broadband discrimination and promote net neutrality (three bills in Congress have already been introduced to makes us pay more for slower speeds.


Are We Throttled?

Will The V-CorpLogoV-Shoe Drop?

An excellent Wikipedia summary of Bandwidth throttling describes the intentional slowing of Internet service by an ISP (Internet Service Provider). Throttling can occur at different locations on a network for good reasons such as the prevention of crashing.

New “net neutrality” rules by the FCC aim at ending the slowly developing practice of  “pay for speed” policies by ISPs.  On this point,  Engadet has a good summary of the AT&T fine ($100M).

The obvious question for residents of NYC is whether Verizon is preparing to sell the “rats nest” we call landlines and continue attempts to end these landline services.  Jon Brodkin, June 4, 2014 in a New York Times Op-Ed put it this way…

“AT&T and Verizon are pushing hard to shift traditional landline service, which has mostly operated over copper lines, to a system of Internet-based phones by around 2020. If the Federal Communications Commission approves the switch as is, it could come as a shock to the 96 million Americans who still rely on landlines.”



Platforms like Mindmixer, ShareAbouts, ChangeByUs, ioby and others offer new ways to define and solve problems shared by a neighborhood. Ideas become productive (move toward implementation) because these platforms support resource gathering aimed at a problem that people share

Three questions:

1.  Anyone with experience with these platforms that may help AKNA get out of the 1900s?
2. Would any of these tools help move the needle toward dialogue and resource development that would help accomplish this goal?

Getting outside the box:

3. Could AKNA get a technical assistance to  install and run a server from outfits such as www.kickstarter.com or similar source?




V-Foundatio Logo

Verizon operates its community relations state-by-state. To get involved in the Verizon Foundation you are required to contact your Verizon Community Relations Manager to learn how to get a required invitation. The V-website asks you to use a ZIP code locator to begin the process and to reach our local Community Relations Manager regarding Grant-Related Inquiries.

I put in 11226 and I came up with Vanessa Vives:  vanessa.u.vives@verizon.com

The Verizon Foundation’s primary philanthropic focus areas are: Healthcare for children, women and seniors; STEM education for K-12 youth and Energy Management.  If any of the AKNA community is part of a nonprofit 501(c)(3) and engaged in these issues reach out.  Could be one of those “six degrees of”…things

Have a look: HERE

Broadband Map

NYC Broadband Map Logo

NYC Broadband Map

A click on the map above (or HERE) will take you to a website that illustrates all of the broadband in New York City.

  • The red dot on the map illustrates 380 Ocean, the only building in our area that gets high speed (over 50 Mbps (megabits per second). It is provided by Verizon.  Click address to see more. 
  • The blue buildings (like Erasmus High School) are those where it is possible but like us at under 7 Mbps
  • The grey buildings (I put a square around AKNA) gets less than that because of how the phone lines work (or don’t work) and the map legend reads “unknown”. 

Note: The little ‘b’ is for ‘bit’. (Mbps) It is a capital ‘B’, it is for ‘Byte’ (MBps). Mb and MB are abbreviations for the smaller vs. larger data sizes. (Thanks Ian.)


The map is not fully up to date as most of Flatbush Commercial has an Optimum or FiOS line.

On the NYC Broadband Map website there is a request form for broadband.  Find your building and register to the site to request Broadband service.

Think “squeaky wheel”.

I filled out the form.  If you filled it out please comment below….

Public Funding


 NY Broadband FundingUSA Map

This link “Find Recovery” will show NYS funding for broadband for a review.

I would not disagree with any of this funding, the one where an ally might be found is in the $62.5 million for the University Corporation above.  The table above is located here: http://www2.ntia.doc.gov/new-york


FCC Stuff

The New York Times
Federal Communications Navigator

Here is a brief sample of the most recent coverage.

JUN. 3, 2015 Republicans at Senate subcommittee hearing criticize plan by Federal Communications Commission to expand Lifeline program to subsidize broadband Internet access for poor Americans; do not dispute that program could help poor, but cite financial mismanagement and fraud within current program. MORE

MAY. 28, 2015 Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler offers sweeping proposal that would subsidize poor people’s access to broadband Internet; plan, likely to set off fierce debate in Congress, would modify $1.7 billion subsidy program that ensures affordable access to advanced telecommunications services, and marks FCC’s strongest recognition yet that Internet access is essential to economic well-being. MORE

Resources from around the Web about Federal Communications Commission selected by researchers and editors of The New York Times include the following:




National Telecommunications and Information Administration
U.S. Department of Commerce,
1401 Constitution Avenue NW, Room 4626,

Attn: Broadband Opportunity Council, Washington, DC 20230.

The Albemarle-Kenmore Neighbors Association is a small historic district in Brooklyn, NY 11223  (Constructed in 1916).  As we approach our centennial we are told by NYC broadband providers that we are “passed” – meaning we have some form of access to the internet.  For us, this means 3 to 7 Mbps via DSL  on very old phone lines and a few satellites.  We have wires running in a way that only a century of phone line installations can produce.  It is a form of chaos that Verizon will not respond Technicians cannot help us define our problems only describe them with an obvious sense of hopelessness.

We are a lower-middle class predominately African-American community, but we are also socially and economically diverse and care deeply about the lack good broadband and sporadic outages that occur during homework time “3pm to 10pm” almost every day. It is really that simple.

Just this month we have started a small blog to clearly document the hundreds of hours repair and trouble shooing technicians spend in our community and firmly believe when the tally is in they could have easily fixed the problem instead of managed the chaos.  If staff would like to take a look the address is “www.communitydesign.net/AKNA.

We have reviewed the public funding and do not disagree with the purposes outlined for public funds.  We, on the other hand, see no funding aimed at holding large service companies accountable for gaps in service.  We see the concept of “passed” as a cover-up and by now all of us know it is not the crime but the “cover” that causes the most damage.

Finally,  we are a patient community, we believe people do their jobs to the best of their ability and care for their fellow citizens.  The main thing the NTIA could do now is to spend some time on the development of internet policies designed to dig out the problems embedded in the glossy cover exhibited in dense urban areas.  There are many, many small places in the city that are very poorly served.   In our view all of these small failure will add-up, and not in a good way.

Thank you



An AKNA Inquiry in 2014 to Don Weber, Manager Verizon Investor Relations received the following response:

“Thank you for your e-mail.  Any pertinent information regarding Verizon’s investment in and deployment of its FiOS video and broadband services can be found in the quarterly earnings releases which can be accessed through the attached URL.  FiOS will never have a nationwide deployment because it is available only in those areas where Verizon is the local provider of landline telephone services.  The territories where FiOS can be found are areas within the mid-Atlantic states, Tampa FL, Dallas TX and Los Angeles CA.”

Have a look at the overall economic position of Verizon for ideas….See: http://www.verizon.com/investor/

Hello Neighbors

cropped-DSCN4259.jpgAre we frozen in the early 19th century?

This site was set up for AKNA members and our friends to examine the state of its 19th c. telephone and internet services and to discuss how to get these services into the 21st century.

Any idea right now is a good one.  So put in a comment or two, send in photos, make suggestions and be creative.


Town Prospector

The New York City Master Plan – published in 1968 presented the community districts at that time a equivalent in population and total employment with cities throughout the United States, a distinction smaller cities only partially enjoyed.

Hopefully, the efforts of exploration outfits such as the Prospector  will bring attention to the enormous potential small towns and villages have in taking public leadership forward in “finding value in cities” — the tag line of this interesting new blog site.  The images presented are stimulating and demand attention.

If you are interested in making small urban centers work, have a look at The Urban Prospector  The issue is serious as this article by William H. Frey Senior Fellow, Metropolitan Policy Program on the “Population Slowdown for Small Town America” clearly illustrates.

ASL Building Doomed: 100 Years or Less

Open Letter to the Art Students League Membership and The Resistance

As the proposal stands now the ASL is turned into an artifact.   It is being readied for placement in nothing more than photographs of where it once was. I have three ideas for addressing the problem faced by the membership of the ASL. Each one recognizes the status of the existing conditions.  Each has an outside chance of keeping ASL a part of the New York City artist community.  All three would be a slam dunk.


A concern of every institution of learning is to reflect effectively on its experience. This responsibility now remains posited firmly before the entire membership of the ASL. At present, to “not vote” or to vote “NO” has been predefined as an act of futility, if not the essence of an”absurd vote”. This has made the members of the ASL part of a radically changed society, but more importantly it is now required to fully assess the terror of this new condition, but look on the bright side. The coalitions of those who resist “the project” have an opportunity to establish new principles for adoption by a more innovative, possibly energized ASL board and membership. These principles arise from the three new realities embedded in the project and revealed in the ongoing evaluation of its proposals.

Without doubt the members of the ASL are of “the 99%” of citizens of this city and nation.  The ASL will therefore re-dedicate its aesthetic vision, art and talent to the recognition of social inequality and to the best of its ability, take the steps needed to move toward its eradication as a social pathology in this city and this nation.

  • Never has the seriousness of this issue been more clearly revealed than in the value of residential and commercial floor area defined by this project.   Over one third of all renters (2/3 of all residents) in NYC now pay over half of their income for rent.  Rent has increased by 8.6% from 2007 to 2011 while the cities median-income decreased by 6.8% in the same period. [1]  The income gap in Manhattan is comparable to areas of great social distress such as Sierra Leone.  None can present the beauty and dignity of being poor with greater clarity than the artist.  This truth must remain in the heart of ASL.


The second fact revealed by “the project” is equally disturbing to any rational observer not blinded by the ways gold can darken our future. The nature of membership in the ASL society has been revealed as a token, each participant a mere actor on a stage of their choosing, but damned by their will to lead.  In the face of this great change the value of the ASL society is strained by clouds of tradeoffs, exchanges and quid pro quo rationalizations.  If there is to be art, the artist must see the truth.  The leaders of the ASL have delivered nothing more than a sense of hopelessness and for this the members of the resistance should be saddened, yet resolved to move forward with new leadership.

  • The resistance to “the project” recognizes the capacity of great wealth to overwhelm the old and weak with its power.   With this knowledge the resistance to “the project” will pledge their unyielding energy to a new purpose.  The resistance to the project and membership of the ASL therefore call for the resignation of the board, not in distrust, but with common recognition that new leadership is the only chance the members might have to recover from the overwhelming sense of worthlessness bestowed upon the history and legacy of the ASL by the current board.


The third strategy has value in two ways, first, if heard by the developers and deemed reasonable, it offers an overwhelming motive to maximize the projects potential and therefore give pause to re-evaluate.   This may yield the time to assess the ability of “the resistance” to move the following proposal forward.   It offers the possibility to acquire a briefly postponed vote in order to obtain a serious review of a wholly new future for the ASL.

A innovative proposal has yet to be fully considered.  It is one that is equally controversial, but it suggests a vision for art in our society is now required to leap into the future as opposed to being “bought out” of it.   In reviewing the literature and the law, the only way to assure that the ASL will survive as an institution is to completely reinvent itself.

  • The resistance therefore offers to yield to “the project” all of the land held by the ASL in trade for a doubling of the equivalent floor area in perpetuity and in a manner that will meet the needs of artists for the next millennia.   Charge the developers with the responsibility to provide for the ASL a superior space, dedicated to the future of fairness and to the truth that art brings to life and society.  The ASL has the opportunity to weave its belief in this unique part of human energy into the mission of urban development.  The opportunity for a rebirth is the rarest of all gifts.  This is the true offer; it is not in the few coins now tossed on the table.

A personal note:

In reviewing the literature and the law it is highly unlikely this option could inject the ASL into the future, it is however one that must be reviewed.   The reasons for the “unlikely success” of this option is that half of the resistance to the proposal as it stands is resistance to change itself.  It is therefore extremely difficult to establish a majority view toward inclusive forms of change.

Nevertheless, it is highly important to retell and remind all who can hear, that the history of New York City is filled with the energy of institutions in buildings that are no longer here.  Far too many of them remain lost to a hope that parts of the human spirit cannot be crushed forever. Like MAS, the ASL should be an institution capable of recognizing its fate and therefore return to the challenge of art.

[1] See report released by New York University’s Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy, the “State of New York City’s Housing and Neighborhoods 2012”

Here is a 2016 NYT Article on the chaos that since (here)

One Bryant Park

In thoughtful research reporting the requirement to sum up should become a responsibility of participation.  In Skyscrapers and the World of Tomorrow posted to Planetizen on September, 1 2011 by editors Jeff Jamawat, Kris Fortin, Tim Halbur and Victor Negrete, the questions sought to define the place for very big buildings, but the article ends by suggesting, the problem lies in a lack of a clear, agreed-upon vision for the future. Lots of luck with that one, but they give it a try.

According to the article, the content of this vision requires data that confirms the efficacy of the following steps.

  1. add full life cycle analysis (e.g. embodied energy) to LEED certification (McEeaney, Toberian)
  2. advance smart building technologies (Black, Leung, Appel)
  3. remove barriers to high (even ultra) density in the right places (Glaeser)
  4. prevent bottom-feeding architecture and beware the onset of tower blight (Kunstler)
  5. remove political gridlock (everybody)

Top of the line sellers provide the data needed for the first two steps thanks to high-end buyers of the technology (see video below).  Much of the data from these systems is proprietary and slows the rate of change, but at least it is pay-it-forward change. These investment institutions are strong and global.

The remaining three define the lack of clear vision problem less optimistically.  All of our democratic institutions face demands for NASA-style investment goals amidst fix-it-first philosophies.  How do we dissolve the contradictions of these two different approaches?

In our recent national history, we attacked a similar problem from the top-down and the grass-roots-up with top end ideas such as the Hreat Society and things like Headstart in a local precinct. Part of it included an investment in demonstration cities, later renamed Model Cities while another part vociferously disagreed with an America entering a permanent state of war.  All of this began a process that forever changed the vision of the urban world.

Today, envisioning the a city and our future is inseparable but this begs the question.  The vision that will remove the barriers, release unlimited wealth for growth, and break the gridlock is one of the city and a wilderness that is separate and inviolate. That is what is missing, that is what we need.

Bank of America Tower at One Bryant Park from Cook+Fox Architects on Vimeo.

Waterfront 2020

The details on a Reach by Reach basis are well worth some urban design quires and perusals.  To this end, the following stipulation is offered for examination.

We have long known that we see is what we think is there and that this can be correct or incorrect at anytime but always considered correct, and we know that not every observation we make is exact.

We know errors in perception and measurement exist. These elements of the human condition are fundamental and accepted collectively in science and psychology.  The more important issue is our responsibility to seek or develop statements of fact that have such lasting clarity in describing the conditions of our time they will continue to make sense in a distant future despite these errors.

I would like your opinion of the waterfront draft on this basis (and on how much jargon can plan one take?). Bill Woods at City Planning made this his life. He should be in the APA hall of fame.

Armed with this knowledge please read the Waterfront Plan for recommendations and procedures most likely to reduce error when discussing measurements and second, suggest ways to find these errors during the implementation of plan components that provide for adjustments.

Design police….

Nevertheless, the New Yorker only needs to recall the 6th Avenue commercial office bonus scheme to realize the limitations involved in the public’s regulatory interest in extending Central Park a bit to south with urban plazas. One only needs to look at a “restrictive declaration” used in Astoria, to recognize a public access failure when you see it. Both represented a straightforward and honorablex desire, but one that was interpreted very differently by the developer’s bottom line of that time. Today we have a double bottom line approach.  Please bring this do no harm value to your review of the plans revision as follows: 

The New York Department of City Planning website asks you to get involved with Vision 2020: NYC Comprehensive Waterfront Plan. It offers a set of links (below).x  Each seeks thoughtful people to reflect on “new public realm†and to deduce the purpose of the update from its 1992 version under Wilber “Bill” Woods.

Seek out the following and provide your view using the resource links below and share facts and opinions with thisx blog or the other venues known to many of you as listed below:

1. Read the Draft Recommendations
2. Send us your comments online
3. Read a recap of the workshops
4. Subscribe to our email newsletter

The connection of New York City’s 500+ miles of blue-interface to regulatory entities such as the NYC Building Code, the Clean Water Act, andx the long list or labyrinth of permits demand site-t0-site complexities.  The call for waterproofing every new structure within a few hundred feet of the waterfront at 14 feet ABOVE mean high tide is a “code” example.

Another is use of the word elevated in reference to the inevitable rise of sea levels.  It suggests the need for other measurements to sustain the basic value of public access that sits as the foundation of the public interest. Perhaps it would be a good thing to see NYC function as well as Venice hasx in the centuries to come, or to plan as well as our friends in the Netherlands. It would seem prudent in a ten-year plan to outline factors that are in NYC’s interest as far into the future

Unlike the folks in the Netherlands that have confidently stated the country to be climate proof”, NYC-DCP selection is climate resilience. It says:

While Vision 2020 is focused on the next ten years, the plan recognizes the need to plan for a much longer timeframe as well. The New York City Panel on Climate Change. See 2010 Report (354 pgs) from the NY Academy of Sciences. It has projected hat sea levels are expected to rise anywhere from 12 inches to 55 inches by 2080. In addition, severe storms and the floods associated with them are expected to occur more frequently.

As a coastal city, many New York neighborhoods experience flooding and storm surges. These risks are expected to increase as the effects of climate change are felt.  The Department of City Planning is working with other City agencies on assessing the risks associated with sea level rise in order to develop strategies for the city to increase its resilience. Strategies include regulatory and other measures to improve the flood resistance of new and existing buildings, as well as exploring soft infrastructure approaches to coastal protection.

The Water Will Come


That is far more introduction than needed.  I implore you to read the DRAFT using your urban design lens as a planner or architect and offer your opinions. Observations from other cities, states in the USA or throughout the precious orb of life we call earth.

The venues for discussion are:

APA Metro NY Urban Design Committee

There are 40 members in this section andx the activity level is low. LinkedIn is known for its a job networking services, but its group function makes this system available to members to share articles, post questions and define issues affecting New York City and the Region. Anyone can view group content, request an invitation to join, become managers or set up a subgroup on an issue.

Urban Design Network

There are about 3,000 members in this group with 9 managers and 12 moderators involved in sharing data on issues in the broad context of Urban Design as it is experienced from Da-bronx to Dubai

There are 64 members with a low activity rating.  The objective is tox use this area to sift throughx issues that may occur with the revision of the 1992 NYC Waterfront Plan (or other issues) and it connects to various WebEx, Google Docs, WindowsLive locations, and so on. Members arex encouraged to develop individualx â€œdraft development areas.

Vision 2020 citywide policies was completed and offered as FINAL in March 2011.  It will seek to accomplish the following eight goals:

  • Expand public access to the waterfront and waterways on public and private property for all New Yorkers and visitors alike.
  • Enliven the waterfront with a range of attractive uses integrated with adjacent upland communities.
  • Support economic development activity on the working waterfront.
  • Improve water quality through measures that benefit natural habitats, support public recreation, and enhance waterfront and upland communities.
  • Restore degraded natural waterfront areas, and protect wetlands and shorefront habitats.
  • Enhance the public experience of the waterways that surround New York – our Blue Network.
  • Improve governmental regulation, coordination, and oversight of the waterfront and waterways.
  • Identify and pursue strategies to increase the city’s resilience to climate change and sea level rise.

We shall see.  Download a copy at www.nyc.gov/waterfront. Comment if you like….

Sum Up Vanderbilt Yards

The history of keeping things “out of your back yard” begins with demonstrable adverse health problems caused by pollution, but it does not end there.  It has advanced to the critique of poorly chosen uses of land, how the use affect others over time and the kind of society the uses produce.  What happens in this section of a growing Downtown Brooklyn is now one of those questions.  What quality of society will we produce here?

For now, look at it as the collision of two interests, one is private and predictive toward profitable returns and the other is public and prescriptive toward resolving the errors committed in the pursuit of the first interest whether the errors were predicable or not.  This leads to expressions of due diligence that prove efforts are made to anticipate damages that are conducted through project approval and evaluation procedures that are capable of constant improvement.x  In this way, living in the world may not be risk free, but the path to it is both predictable and prescribed. 

Seven Years to Develop 22 Acres with 22 Left

The New York State Supreme Court in Brooklyn on Monday March 1, 2009 rejected the final legal challenge by homeowners and businesses to the state’s use of eminent domain for the $4.9 billion, 22-acre Atlantic Yards project (see TimesTopics for more). The news triggered a groundbreaking for March 11, 2009.

How much ground will be broken remains unknown to all, even the developer, Bruce Ratner is reportedly unsure.  One thing is sure, the general failure of effective criticism of the plan.  Perhaps this was in deference to the disruption of those whose lives and businesses are forever changed.  Perhaps not. Time remains to go on the record regarding the failure of super blocks and its architecture, or to examine the distracted inability of the MTA and the DOT to address serious public safety questions given the plan as it stands.

The Other 22

New York State officials will force the last 22 families and companies to move out of the Atlantic Yards project footprint if they don’t leave voluntarily by April 3, 2010.  It began with several hundred families and businesses, but Errol Lewis summed it all up best as a reporter for the Daily News and a long time observer of New York’s uniquely imprudent politic.

The seven-year slog leading up to today’s ribbon-cutting on the Atlantic Yards project demonstrates why New York must rethink and restructure the way it handles big land deals.

Nearly no one on either side of the debate over the planned 18,000-seat arena and 6,400 units of housing – not even the winning developer, Forest City Ratner – thinks the process was fair, balanced and rational.

There were too many lawsuits, too many unanswered questions and too many heated arguments. Worst of all, the years of bickering and delay have left behind bitterness and civic exhaustion just when we need energy, enthusiasm and public scrutiny to make Atlantic Yards a success.

I would have readers with an interest in the urban development process in general and in this part of Brooklyn specifically, to notice Errol’s criticism in this way. The enormously accurate criticisms of the Atlantic Yards plan from an architectural, urban planning and design point of view are ineffective. Despite grievous errors of design, the less evident event is the obituary of architectural criticism.

As Lewis points out, the measure of success is tragically blurred and the lessons learned are painfully slow and easily forgotten.  Our society has the authority to engage in the destruction of one community as a constitutionally guaranteed process for building a new one.

Lewis is right. We must question the current criterion that suggests we are actually making a place better or more life affirming or more environmentally sound, not just environmentally neutral.

We are currently limited to writing the postmortem. Given the desire to correct mistakes before they are made,  what steps could be taken to give a community affected more controls over a design and development process that the law of our land as already deemed inevitable? How can the rules of engagement for community development practices eliminate our tragic acceptance of collateral damage?

The Urban Challenge

Best summary of the global urban challenge is by Bruce Katz “and rightly so” :

  1. Six characteristics of the Progressive Realm of Voters.  Study the regions for the part of the movement you serve in your city and region of the metro-nation.

2. Ohio, please get back to us…

3. Think like a citizen of a Metro Nation, nail down the facts here.

4. Leverage Four Assets

5. Work and the Metro-Community

6. Last but not least, “How do you create a revolution?