WIFI Intro

The only way New York can survive and thrive in the global digital economy is to build a true 21st Century infrastructure, connect every business and home to the Internet, and prepare every worker to compete for the jobs of the future.

That’s why the central piece of my agenda is a plan to “Wi-Fi NY” – to create a wireless Internet network throughout the City’s five boroughs. A universal Wi-Fi system will help New York keep pace with its counterparts around the world that are quickly moving to get everyone online.

More importantly, it will generate billions of dollars in economic activity and thousands of new jobs, help equip our children with the skills they need to compete for those jobs, and enable all New Yorkers to share in the benefits of the Information Age.

I would like to open our conversation today by putting a challenge before you.

All of us are here today because we recognize the unprecedented opportunity we have at hand to revitalize our civic life.

We see how the Internet and the tools and practices being invented by the people in this room and your peers can revolutionize how we govern ourselves.

We see how politics, instead of being a dirty word, could be what it meant in the original Greek: the engagement of all citizens in the decisions that affect their lives.

If I mentioned this transformative potential to someone in a Fortune 500 boardroom, they would know instantly what I was talking about. They see how new companies like Amazon, eBay, and Google are reconfiguring commerce, and they are moving as fast as they can to understand this transformative power, harness it and profit from it.

But today, two years after the Dean campaign came from nowhere because “people-powered Howard” allowed the Net to lift him up, the political establishment in America — and dare I say most of the rest of the world — still doesn’t “get it.” 

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