Civic News

City CTO and community to publicly discuss broadband policy at One Web Day kick-off

Nothing says civic duty like a town hall meeting. Now it’s Philly tech’s turn. City Chief Technology Officer Allan Frank and a handful of influential members of Philadelphia’s technology community will hold a public panel this month to discuss broadband policy, Digital Philadelphia and the city’s technology future. Event Details: Broadband Policy PanelWhen: 9/22, 7:00 […]

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Nothing says civic duty like a town hall meeting. Now it’s Philly tech’s turn.
City Chief Technology Officer Allan Frank and a handful of influential members of Philadelphia’s technology community will hold a public panel this month to discuss broadband policy, Digital Philadelphia and the city’s technology future.

Event Details:
Broadband Policy PanelWhen: 9/22, 7:00 p.m.
Where: University of the Arts, Connelly Auditorium, Terra Building, 8th Floor, 320 S. Broad Street

The September 22 panel, hailed as One Web Day Philly‘s inaugural event, marks the first public discussion concerning Digital Philadelphia since Frank reached out to members of technology community earlier this year.
“With all the energy that’s gone into broadband expansion over the last few months because of the stimulus grant,” One Web Day Philly organizer Gwen Shaffer says, “we need to think about how we’re going to build on that momentum, and make sure there’s public input.”
Discussion will surround a pivotal question that Frank has been meek to respond to: If Philadelphia doesn’t receive federal broadband stimulus money, how will the city realize the Division of Technology’s Digital Philadelphia vision and the Nutter administration’s promise to expand Internet access in Philadelphia?

See our comprehensive coverage of Digital Philadelphia here.

See our comprehensive coverage of Digital Philadelphia here.


Panel members will include Todd Wolfson of Media Mobilizing Project, whom many credit with convincing the city to submit a stimulus application and to develop a plan for Philadelphia’s technology future.
City Councilman Bill Green, an ardent support of technology innovation in Philadelphia, who recently made headlines on this site for his action-packed field trip to demonstrate dumpster RFID technology, will also speak.
The hard-to-reach Boathouse Communications chair and Network Acquisition representative Derek Pew will likely discuss his role in the acquisition of assets given up when Earthlink pulled out of the Wireless Philadelphia initiative last year.
Also invited is a representative of Clearwire Wireless, a WiMAX network carrier which plans to launch its fourth generation wireless broadband solution in the region later this year, as we reported in March. Comcast and Verizon reps are notably absent from the roster, but Shaffer says it’s not intended to be a diss.
Hoping to have an industry voice on the panel, Shaffer thought it would be educational to include Clearwire, a broadband company that is new to the market. Additionally, Comcast declined to participate with One Web Day Philly, Shaffer says, so she thought they wouldn’t be interested in the panel.
When she invited Philly’s largest cable operator to organizing meetings for One Web Day, a representative balked.
“We’ve got our plate full right now with what we believe will be effective and impactful broadband adoption and digital literacy programs,” a Comcast spokesperson told Shaffer in an e-mail statement, referring to its Digital Connectors broadband policy program announced in July.
The panel is being held to kick-off a week of technology celebration and service, when volunteers will train citizens at four Philadelphia Housing Authority developments. One Web Day Philly is the regional chapter of an annual, global event meant to highlight broadband policy issues.
“We thought of doing technology service projects because Philadelphia has an amazing number of people with [computer] skills in the city,” she says. “We also have a large percentage of the population that’s not online, that is on the ‘wrong side’ of the digital divide.”
Shaffer, who we interviewed for our Friday Q&A series about One Web, is still seeking volunteers. You can donate your time by signing up here.
City CTO Allan Frank announced his Digital Philadelphia vision and plans for a $100 million city information technology overhaul at Refresh Philly in May, as we reported.
After following Frank’s plan for three months leading up to the August 14 federal broadband stimulus deadline, Technically Philly published a comprehensive multimedia package on his Digital Philadelphia vision last month. Each member of the upcoming panel was contacted for the story.

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