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
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
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
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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