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JUN. 3, 2015 Republicans at Senate subcommittee hearing criticize plan by Federal Communications Commission to expand Lifeline program to subsidize broadband Internet access for poor Americans; do not dispute that program could help poor, but cite financial mismanagement and fraud within current program. MORE

MAY. 28, 2015 Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler offers sweeping proposal that would subsidize poor people’s access to broadband Internet; plan, likely to set off fierce debate in Congress, would modify $1.7 billion subsidy program that ensures affordable access to advanced telecommunications services, and marks FCC’s strongest recognition yet that Internet access is essential to economic well-being. MORE

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NTIA

Comment 
National Telecommunications and Information Administration
U.S. Department of Commerce,
1401 Constitution Avenue NW, Room 4626,

Attn: Broadband Opportunity Council, Washington, DC 20230.

The Albemarle-Kenmore Neighbors Association is a small historic district in Brooklyn, NY 11223  (Constructed in 1916).  As we approach our centennial we are told by NYC broadband providers that we are “passed” – meaning we have some form of access to the internet.  For us, this means 3 to 7 Mbps via DSL  on very old phone lines and a few satellites.  We have wires running in a way that only a century of phone line installations can produce.  It is a form of chaos that Verizon will not respond Technicians cannot help us define our problems only describe them with an obvious sense of hopelessness.

We are a lower-middle class predominately African-American community, but we are also socially and economically diverse and care deeply about the lack good broadband and sporadic outages that occur during homework time “3pm to 10pm” almost every day. It is really that simple.

Just this month we have started a small blog to clearly document the hundreds of hours repair and trouble shooing technicians spend in our community and firmly believe when the tally is in they could have easily fixed the problem instead of managed the chaos.  If staff would like to take a look the address is “www.communitydesign.net/AKNA.

We have reviewed the public funding and do not disagree with the purposes outlined for public funds.  We, on the other hand, see no funding aimed at holding large service companies accountable for gaps in service.  We see the concept of “passed” as a cover-up and by now all of us know it is not the crime but the “cover” that causes the most damage.

Finally,  we are a patient community, we believe people do their jobs to the best of their ability and care for their fellow citizens.  The main thing the NTIA could do now is to spend some time on the development of internet policies designed to dig out the problems embedded in the glossy cover exhibited in dense urban areas.  There are many, many small places in the city that are very poorly served.   In our view all of these small failure will add-up, and not in a good way.

Thank you

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