Posted by Eric Horvath on April 09, 2015 at 1:50 PM
(Philadelphia) - With the release of today’s Needs and Interests Assessment by the Nutter administration, leading voices in Philadelphia City Council announced the topics of upcoming hearings around that assessment. Hearings will be held by the Joint Committees on Public Property & Public Works, chaired by Councilman Bobby Henon (6th District), and Technology and Information Services, chaired by Councilman Brian O’Neill (10th District).
The hearings will be held in neighborhoods around Philadelphia, giving communities better access to participate. They will focus on:
- Comcast support of the Philadelphia School District in providing for fast, reliable and accessible broadband internet.
- Comcast support of broadband access and other considerations at social service institutions, such as homeless shelters, subsidized housing, recreation centers
- Customer experience, including affordability and quality of of Comcast services, including Internet Essentials, along with consumer satisfaction & customer service
- Comcast and Philadelphia infrastructure, such as disturbing public rights-of-way to lay cable.
- Comcast support of emerging community access programming to better inform and empower Philadelphia neighborhoods.
“I’m satisfied the Nutter administration has released the long-awaited needs assessment. This survey will help guide the work of Council as we investigate the upcoming franchise renewal, but also will give communities a chance to voice their concerns in an open, deliberate manner,” Henon said.
Councilman Brian O’Neill (10th District) said, “Technology has changed rapidly over the past fifteen years. These hearings will ensure that all Philadelphians continue to be provided with the best products and services available at the best possible price.”
Council President Darrell Clarke (5th District) said, “I have seen firsthand how reliable Internet access, something many of us take for granted, can become a lifeline for job-seekers and disadvantaged students. For every Strawberry Mansion Learning Center, which provides free after-school support to our youth, there are dozens of Philadelphians for whom affordable, high-speed Internet access remains out of reach. This discussion is vital to Philadelphia’s long-term prosperity, and I am grateful to Councilman Henon and Councilman O’Neill for taking the lead on what we all hope will be a productive conversation that leads to real results for Philadelphians.”
Councilwoman Maria Quiñones-Sánchez (7th District) said, "Internet access has become fundamental to gaining employment, education, government services and public benefits. In a city like ours with such high poverty rates, we must seize this opportunity to do far more to ensure equitable access."
Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell (3rd District) added, “Every resident in our City deserves access to quality, high speed internet, a tool that has become vital to the success of individuals and communities. From schools to recreation centers, high speed internet enhances every level of education from kindergarten through high school to college to graduate school. For homeless shelters and other human service organizations providing services for the undeserved and low-income communities, quality high speed internet service only increases economic opportunity, as well as opportunities for educational advancement, and democratic participation. We support efforts that will lead us to connected communities.
Councilman Wilson Goode, Jr. (At-Large) said, "We were elected by our constituents to leverage our public investment and assets to benefit the 99% of us, not the wealthy one-percent.”
Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds-Brown (At-Large) said, "I remain unapologetic in stating that kids, specifically students, must be a major factor in this equation. Access to free wi-fi internet is a game-changer and improves the odds for young people and families. Therefore, I would like to see a major effort by Comcast to provide internet services to low income families, all schools, public libraries, recreation centers and all other places where young people gather."
Councilman William Greenlee (At-Large) said that during the assessment process, Council’s “primary focus must be affordable, quality and reliable service.”
Councilman Ed Neilson (At-Large) said, "The Comcast Corporation is extremely important to Philadelphia's corporate community and our growing reputation as a world-class city. However, it’s equally important that we as elected officials ensure that Comcast is being fair and responsive to its customers. To that end, it's imperative that the city finalizes and releases the Needs Assessment Survey. Council is doing the right thing by holding hearings on Comcast's franchise negotiations with the city. The goal is to be certain that all competitors are playing on a level playing field to create cost-savings for consumers."