Last month I noted Tom Friedman’s op-ed in the NY Times calling for more public broadband connectivity. In that piece he mentions Andrew Rasiej, who’s running for Public Advocate office in New York on a platform calling for citywide municipally-owned WiFi.
Micah Sifry dropped me an email last night noting that there’s only three days left until the NY primary.
We’ve certainly seen the devastating results of underinvestment in public infrastructure all too tragically demonstrated.
In the next decade, the fabric of network connectivity will be an even more critical part of the infrastructure that we depend on to work, whatever might happen – so calling for making those investments now seems prudent to me.
And I like the fact that Rasiej contrasts the cost of a wifi rollout with proposed investments for sports facilities:
Philadelphia has already begun to implement a universal Wi-Fi network
that will cost only $6-$7 dollars per resident to build. That means for
about a quarter of what the Mayor wanted to spend on the failed West
Side stadium project, we can connect New York. So we have the technological know-how. We have the resources. All that’s missing is the political will.
It certainly seems self-evident that widespread network connectivity throughout New York City is likely to generate more positive and higher-order economic activity in the city than a football stadium.
While I suspect that there’s a lot more to Rasiej than just his call for city wireless (he’s a cofounder of the Personal Democracy Forum, for example), and I don’t know all the issues involved in this race, nor what the Public Advocate of the city actually does, his forthright stance on this issue certainly shows more leadership than we’ve seen in other quarters lately.
So if you live in NYC, get out and vote!