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Username: Thomas Lowenhaupt
Date/Time: Tue, February 22, 2000 at 5:49 PM GMT
Browser: Netscape Communicator V4.51 using Windows 98
Score: 5
Subject: Promoting Public Participation


        While I'm delighted to see that Internet numbering policy has been opened to public participation, transforming the issues before the Ad Hoc Group into digestible bites for public discourse, deliberation, and decision making will not be an easy task. As an example of the challenges presented, I'll offer my community's needs.

Although we're located in New York City, Community District 3 is not a high tech community. Broadly speaking, our role vis-a-vis Silicon Alley might be seen as that of a low tech services staging area. This is not to say that we don't have thousands of high tech people living here, but because of the nature of local communication, we've not been able to adequately identify our tech resources.

But through our Community Board we've agreed that, for the future of our children, it's imperative that we understand the net, and make sure it works for us. We've presumed that the architecture of our community will be changed to match the new capabilities offered by cyberspace. And, it being a two way street, we'll need to recommend cyberspace changes to match our community's needs. To do this we'll need to understand the impact technical issues like names, numbers, and protocols will have on us.

We expect to gain the same degree of understanding and command with the technical issues that control our cyber-lives as we do those that impact on our place-based community. While few board members are zoning, housing, transportation, safety, or social service experts, we've established a process that provides us with the information we need to discourse, deliberate, and decide on the issues before us.

But before we can become full participants in the cyberspace discourse, able to understand the arguments of others and speak on our needs and desires, we'll have to develop a process to parse the issues into fathomable information packets. There are several ways to do this. New York State recently pioneered a new mechanism wherein applicants for new electric power plants must finance community efforts to hire experts to present the community view on the siting issue. It might be helpful if the ICANN established a similar mechanism.

But for a start, I'll risk embarrassment by asking a few questions that might help illuminate the impact of numbering on our community. I hope the experts on this panel will help translate them into a meaningful discourse and bare other, possibly more relevant, questions. Here goes.

What impact will numbering decisions have on the cost and availability of services and products; on the flexibility / portability of services offered; on the ease of entry of new companies into the industry?

What impact will numbering have on local civic groups, non profit institutions, small retail businesses, and on our churches and schools?

As a multicultural community (63 languages are spoken in the homes of our local elementary school students) we'll be interested in how the numbering issue will affect late arriving cultures to the Internet world. What impact will numbering issues have on the many different homelands represented in our community?

If those questions make no sense, maybe someone can explain Robert Shaw's post, "Report of IP-Telecoms Interworking Workshop at ITU on Jan 25-27 2000." Despite the title, I think it's a new Packman grid.

On Thursday, April 13, from 7-9 PM Community Board 3's communication committee will hold its first meeting on Internet governance. It would be helpful to have someone there who can begin to make the necessary translations. We're located at 82-11 37th Avenue, 6th Floor. (We're about 2 miles south of LaGuardia Airport.)

Finally, someone pointed out that I mis-identified myself on my initial forum post. I'm vice chair of the Community Board and co-chair of the communications committee (not vice chair of the communications committee).

Thomas Lowenhaupt


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