in Political action, Urban Change

Internet 101

The hearing was packed with people.  About fifty workers from the CWA and another fifty people like us and some officials from community boards, the NYC Comptroller (audit report) and the Public Utility Law Project (analysis).  It was fun and informative – nothing like a mix of irate consumers and informed watchdogs.

The previous post states the end of the comment period to the PSC is August 24, 2015.  If you have any personal experiences with Verizon we can add please use the comment section below and we will forward it to the PSC.

Testimony to the NYS Public Service Commission 7.15.15

Delivered a short presentation at the PSC so the kids (including mine) could get services.

New York City’s entire infrastructure comes first, but there is a short list. The things on that list come before our physical mobility or concern for public structures from schools to seawalls, because without special care of the things on the short list, none of it matters.

Some may remember a lesson learned long ago in NYC when a young truck driver drove to his death as an elevated section of the West Side Highway collapsed before his eyes.  What was that lesson?  Preventative maintenance has no constituency, lobbyists or stockholders demanding the regular use of paint on highway steel.

Hearings like this should be about our common sense powers. Only a few things require a “paint the steel” attitude, so here is the short list: gas, electricity, water, sewer, and broadband Infrastructure, including all government IT systems.

All of us know the last item on this list is now the glue holding it all together. We are wholly dependent on our ability to sustain our use of communication technology.  Today, it is a complicated mess, not unlike the picture in this testimony of what the telecom system looks like in my neighborhood. With respect to our experience with Verizon and all of the ISP providers in our network, we need to reboot the ‘paint the steel’ lesson.  This is what the PSC should know and do:

  1. Every word written by DoITT and every other watchdog agency in New York City and State on this issue is true. All appear to stand helplessly before giants such as Verizon. Stand with the watchdogs on this one.
  2. Aggressively enforce the existing franchise agreement and eliminate ambiguity going forward. This is required for one reason. The principle of “good faith” is dead, or “passed”. The “handshake” between principles (Verizon and its customers) led to a nasty sucker punch. Stand with the watchdogs for as long as it takes. You need the added resource.
  3. The FCC recognizes the need for a national high-speed infrastructure. The FCC set the minimum to 25 Mbps. In our experience, 3- to 6-Mbps means we do not have “broadband” as the report suggests. Stand with the FCC’s rules that are attempting get us up to speed with the world.
  4. The children in my community love their phones to text and talk. Our kids have us, but businesses in my community, the city and state are without backup when service fails. Without the practice of net neutrality embedded in the 24/7/365 experience of growing in New York City and State, “text & talk” is all the young will have and small businesses will have no backup. Back up, is first rule of IT. NYC does not have it.

The Albemarle-Kenmore Neighborhood Association (AKNA) is a community of professionals in many fields. We confirm the practices of Verizon contribute to landline decay; repairs are timely, but also repeatedly.  On other matters, delay is in 10-day cycles lasting months or years.  This leads to higher cost for service in a subtle way.

The impact is damaging to the economy of my community and especially on low- and moderate-income households. Data lines are a vital source of access to the internet for work and education, news and entertainment. Mobile services are heavily marketed, but expensive for all three basic functions.

The unreliability of Verizon’s century old copper lines leaves families with poor access to the most important economic stimulus of this century. This leads to added subscriptions to mobile and satellite services, further stressing the bank accounts of our community. The preservation and improvement of basic service whether it is copper or fiber is vital to the families of our districts and neighborhoods.

Verizon can claim ‘state of the art’ technology. With work like this, “anything is possible”.

The concerted effort of AKNAs members is like a rock and resistance from Verizon (and Cablevision) the hill.  Accordingly, we discarded the rock and launched a neighborhood media campaign in our own interest that we believe it is in the interest of the entire community.

We seek the participation of a PSC technology officer: We believe that updates documenting our experience may be of use over the next few months or years.  An email to distributes to our neighborhood IT team. Thank you, we will look forward to monitoring our combined progress on this issue.

Rex’s comments to the NYS Public Service Commission.  Share with this link: or hit play below

The AKNA IT Team

Move slider for entire hearing.  Much of it offers excellent insight into the way the “lobby” function should work.

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