Saturday, February 26, 2005
But we need to keep the heat on.
Let's continue to support elimination of the language in the bill that outlaws community wireless projects.
Municipal Wireless Networks and those that are public/private collaborations bring other benefits to the public that should be supported.
In my opinion, these include:
Open research and innovation opportunities
Community safety and security uses
Encouragement of competition that supports faster and more ubiquitous deployment in all communities (including rural and low-income communities)
Other municipal uses and services to citizens (parking meters, bill paying etc.)
These are but a few. Write your representatives in Austin.
Technology For All
Thursday, February 24, 2005
Below is a link to articles about our TFA-Wireless initiative in the Houston Chronicle and on KUHF Public Radio. We appreciate the coverage that helps us achieve our mission to empower low-income and under resourced communities through the tools of technology. Thanks to all who have assisted TFA over the years. We are grateful! This unique project is a collaboration between Rice University, The Houston Public Library, SimHouston, and Technology For All. For more information go to www.techforall.org/tfa_wireless.html .
This week, the Texas legislature is holding committee hearings for the anti-wireless bill. The committee members will determine whether the provisions to outlaw municipal networks will be stricken or preserved.
Representatives Joe Crabb and Sylvestor Turner from Houston sit on that comittee. We need our two Houston area Representatives to understand why the anti-wireless provisions are bad for Houston, bad for business and bad for innovation. We support competition and innovation.
Here in Houston, TFA-Wireless is a collaborative project of Rice University (www.rice.edu) and its Rice Networks Group (http://www.ece.rice.edu/networks/ ), TFA (www.techforall.org/tfa_wireless.html ) and the Houston Public Library ( http://www.hpl.lib.tx.us/hpl/hplhome.html ). It is unique collaborative project that is threatened by the proposed legislation in Austin. The blessing of the City is vital to the project and HB789 will cause significant harm.
The City has been a strong partner with these organizations all along the way. A large part of the credibility and success of TFA-Wireless comes from its working together with the City by way of the Houston Public library. This relationship doesn't harm the incumbent communication providers—the force behind HB 789. This partnership brings them more business.
The anti-wireless provisions of HB 789 jeopardize TFA-Wireless, and will jeopardize other wireless efforts underway across Houston and across the state.
If Sylvester Turner or Joe Crabb is your state representative, it is critical that you let him know that you support public wireless. Ask your representative to strike the anti-wireless provisions from HB 789.
Tuesday, February 22, 2005
I am sitting in Austin in the hearing room of the Regulatory Industries sub-committee. It's been a long day with many issues presented by speakers from all sides. The issue for TFA-Wireless is found in section 54.202. The legislation as it is now proposed eliminates the possibility of a city or municipality engaging in the direct or indirect provision of Internet networking services. TFA-Wireless has a unique collaborative relationship with RICE University and the City of Houston Public Library that is threatened by the current language. Please write your State Representative in Austin to suggest alternative language in the bill that will allow for innovation and competition. For a list of committee members go to http://www.house.state.tx.us/committees/425.htm .
Thanks for your support of TFA-Wireless and other community wireless projects.
Friday, February 18, 2005
There are many issues in the wireless broadband discussion that is heating up.
Should Mucipalities be allowed to create wireless broadband networks?
Should collaborative organizations (municipalities and others) be allowed to create wireless broadband networks?
Do restrictions on the creation of wireless broadband networks stifle innovation and competition?
There are many more questions being discussed. But, in my opinion, the bottom line is this.
Wireless broadband is good.
Restrictions on Wireless Broadband do stifle competition and innovation.
In order to serve lower income and under-resourced neighborhoods, communities and rural areas, we will have to work together to deliver creative solutions for broadband Internet access.
Nonprofts, educational institutions, commercial entities and cities and towns can work together to create wireless broadband solutions that both serve the customer and are built upon sustainable business models.
We ought to be working together to encourage legislation that supports innovation and competition rather than restrictions that eliminate all players but major corporations.
For more information click on some of the URLs below. I welcome your comments. To make a comment, click on the # at the bottom of this entry.
Proposed MuniWireless Bill in Texas Restricts Projects like TFA-Wireless
Texas House Committee on Regulated Industries
Save Texas MuniWireless
Support Wireless Broadband
FCC Report on Wireless Broadband
Wednesday, February 16, 2005
Click on # at the end of each post.
Technology For All (TFA) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit focused on empowering low-income and under-resourced communities through social enterprises using the tools of technology. This new strategy is designed to help TFA achieve its missional objectives through a sustainable business model that is socially responsible. TFA's social enterprises include TFA-Wireless, TFA-JobTech and TFA-STARRS.
TO BE AVAILABLE TO HOUSTON'S EAST END
City of Houston, Houston Public Library, Technology For All and Rice University To Unveil Wireless Service During News Conference at 10 a.m. Thursday
HOUSTON - (Feb. 15, 2005) -- Houston Mayor Bill White and leaders from Rice University, the Houston Public Library and nonprofit Technology For All (TFA) will announce the rollout of TFA-Wireless, a social enterprise project of TFA that will provide free or discounted high-speed wireless Internet access to individuals, businesses and community organizations in Houston's Pecan Park neighborhood in the East End during a news conference at 10 a.m. Thursday at the library's Melcher Branch, 7200 Keller St. The conference will include a demonstration of the wireless service at the library and also at a neighborhood resident's home nearby. In addition to Mayor White, speakers will include City Council Member and Mayor Pro Tem Carol Alvarado, Houston Public Library Interim Director Toni Lambert, Rice University President David Leebron and Technology For All President and CEO Will Reed.
# # #
B.J. Almond,Associate Director of News and Media Relations
402-C Lovett Hall, MS 300
6100 Main St.
Houston, TX 77005