We Major. . .

Month two is in full effect and the list of things to do keeps growing and growing. Not sure where I left off last month, but here's what's been going on.

We've been working on raising public awareness about the Digital Television Transition that will happen in Feb. of next year. The DTV transition is when the nation's over-the-air television signal will switch from analog to digital. While the transition can potentially open up a channel for new innovations in wireless broadband (potentially because the FCC hasn't decided yet), the pressing issue is making sure that those who receive over-the-air television are ready for the transition. The government has tried it's best to spread the word, but there are growing fears that many people will lose their signal because they don't have a digital converter box. That's where we've been stepping in. We've jumped in on the efforts to spread the word about the transition and have held a few events around New York City. We have one coming up this week in Harlem. Also, we've worked in partnership with other public interest groups to make sure that the government allows for the unused spectrum (known as white spaces) to be a public resource that can be used for wireless broadband technology.

Locally, we've been following the New York City franchise agreement with Verizon. Verizon has just been given allowed to offer FiOS services in New York City and while the new service is welcomed competition to incumbent cable duopoly, the agreement process was rushed and left very little time for public input. We worry that the agreement made very little effort to protect the public interest and provides little for consumer protection, which means that while the new competition will bring some immediate drops in service costs, the consumers will still have to struggle with irresponsible and negligent practices on the part of service providers. PPH has been working to try and make sure the public is aware of the process and we've advocated for another public comment period where New Yorker's can learn about the new FiOS deal and voice their opinions about what they want from the new service provider.

The next few months are going to be busy. We're getting ready to start a new round of community journalist trainings. I'm excited about it because I'm going to get a chance to do the trainings my self. Also, I'm going to be doing my IST which is going to rock. I was able to find a 12-week feature article writing workshop. It's going to help with the monthly articles that we publish for Gotham Gazette and it'll give me a good excuse to practice my writing. Other than that, all is well out here in the big city. Till next time.

Comment from Jules Goins on September 16, 2008 - 10:20am

The community journalism trainings sound great. If you don't mind sharing the training materials, I would like to learn more about it.

Also, good look with the workshop you found. Sounds like that will be good too.

I wish I could have FiOS. Stupid Comcast and their download limit.

Comment from Morgan Sully on September 17, 2008 - 4:26pm

Totally seen ads for this transition in the local post office, but not something widely publicized at all. Totally seems like a huge move by the telecommunications industry that could limit people's access.

Those community journalist trainings seem like a really great antithesis to any cynicism or ignorance (present party not excluded!) that's out there.

Any chance PPH would be interested in becoming a NAMAC Member? PPH seems super cool and could be a great asset to our membership. Many of our orgs are media/public media related, but I think could stand to be a bit more informed about issues out there (our policy and advocacy area of the website could use some love).

One of our co-directors actually wants to push outreach towards a more politically active member-base.

P.S. Are you connected to Joshua Brietbart? I just found that he's connected to NAMAC via the Ethos Group via Sascha Meinrath via Helen De Michiel (co-director at NAMAC where i work).

How's things in NY?