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The original item was published from 4/12/2021 1:48:00 PM to 4/12/2021 1:51:07 PM.

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Posted on: April 9, 2021

[ARCHIVED] Call For Applicants Albany Commission on Municipal Internet Service

Call-for-applications

We are seeking applications from qualified residents of the City of Albany for the following position:

Title of Positions                    

Member, Albany Commission on Municipal Internet Service – Five (5) openings.

Term of Appointment

Appointments are for a two-year term.  

City of Albany Commission on Municipal Internet Service

The mission of the commission is to research the feasibility, logistics, and financing of creating a municipally-run, citizen-owned high speed internet service that will provide internet speeds far greater than what private companies currently provide and ensure such service will be made available to every Albany resident and business, regardless of income level or geographic location in the City.

Creating high-speed, reliable, affordable, and citizen-owned internet service has shown to be a major economic boost in municipalities where such infrastructure exists. Providing this service would also serve as a significant benefit in every neighborhood in Albany, particularly in neighborhoods where unemployment and poverty rates are high. affordable, reliable internet access gives individuals, among a host of other benefits, the ability to more easily search for employment, work from their homes, and take online higher education courses.

The marketplace for internet access lacks any true competition. Residents are faced with expensive plans that provide sub-par internet speeds. Chattanooga, Tennessee serves a model for municipally-run internet service. That city’s average download speed is over 100 megabytes per second (mbps). The City of Albany IT Department runs regular speed test for our Spectrum Internet Service in Albany any they show download speeds ranging from 30 -50 mbps and uploads under 5 mbps. Establishing a successful citizen-owned internet service would be an enormous help to attracting new small businesses and residents to Albany, which means a significant increase of our tax base, more thriving commercial centers, and give Albany a major competitive advantage over surrounding municipalities.

With significant economic and community development opportunity in mind, the Mayor is determined to establish the “City of Albany Commission on Municipal Internet Service” for the purpose of researching all the necessary elements of creating a municipal internet service and seize this opportunity and move towards quality internet for all.

In 2017, Mayor Sheehan initiated a Broadband Study that resulted in an Assessment and Feasibility Report from Millennium Strategies.  In conducting this study Millennium did extensive research, interviewed related government and industry experts, surveyed the public and reported to and sought input from the City’s Broadband Team throughout the study period. Some of the key findings of the study include:  

  1. It is estimated that as there may be as many as 35% of the City’s population that does not have access to high-speed broadband (25 – 100 mbps) and that number is likely higher in low income neighborhoods. This estimate is supported by both statewide and national research studies.  
  2. Cost and affordability is the major reason why many residents do not have high-speed broadband in their homes. Even with discounts for low income subscribers it is estimated that only 6% of those eligible for discounted bandwidth programs ever access them.  
  3. The incumbent carrier, Verizon has decided not to offer FIOS, their high-speed broadband service, to the residents of the City despite the Mayor’s and other elected officials’ request for Verizon’s consideration to do so.  
  4. Significant initial public support exists for the development of an alternative high-speed broadband network in the City.  The Center for Technology in Government at the University at Albany surveyed over 3000 New York households and determined that 42.6% of households that do not subscribe to Broadband Services site the affordability of said service as a major reason for abstaining from subscribing. An additional 18.6% of respondents expressed affordability as a minor reason, meaning that affordability is a factor for over 60% of New York State residents who do not subscribe to high speed. 

Position Responsibilities/Duties:

Individuals appointed to the Commission on Municipal Internet Service will attend scheduled meetings on an as needed basis to develop a report that will detail any and all research and recommendations to the City of Albany about the feasibility of financing a City owned high speed internet service. The commission will make all findings and recommendations to the Mayor and the Common Council regarding the creation of such infrastructure, costs, available financing, logistics and feasibility. 

Statutory Authority: 

Sec. 1 Chapter 42 of the Code of the City of Albany, Part 39.

Application Requirement:    

Interested applicants must submit a letter of interest describing qualifications and a current resume to:

City of Albany Office of the Mayor
Attn: Sarah Kampf, Special Projects Coordinator
24 Eagle Street
Albany, NY 12207

Applicants will be interviewed 

Deadline for applications: Close of business, Friday, April 30, 2021

Police Statement

The Office of the Mayor is committed to assuring that its appointments to City boards, authorities or commissions is representative of the diversity of Albany’s population. Consistent with the City of Albany Human Rights Law, it is the policy of the Office of the Mayor to prohibit discrimination because of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, age, disability, marital or domestic partner status in all aspects of its personnel policies, programs, practices and operations.