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First POST: Foreshadowing

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, February 3 2015


  • Confirming weeks of speculation, Steve Lohr of The New York Times reports that FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is going to "propose regulating Internet service like a public utility" as a telecommunications service under Title II of the Communications Act, but they will take a "light-touch approach" to applying that decision. The actual proposal from Wheeler to his fellow commissioners is expected tomorrow.

  • Wheeler also has given the cities of Chattanooga, Tennessee and Wilson, North Carolina a preemption allowing them to ignore state laws preventing them from building their own broadband networks, reports Jason Koebler for Motherboard.

  • In his new budget, President Obama is asking for $105 million to create digital teams in 25 government agencies modeled on the new US Digital Service, reports Julian Hattem for The Hill. We're also hearing that the US Digital Service itself is planning to hire 200 more staffers, tripling its current size.

  • The President's budget proposal was posted on Medium, and--in a first--the data files it is based on have been posted to the White House's GitHub account in a machine-readable format. (h/t Alex Howard)

  • Google is developing a transportation service that will compete with Uber, reports Brad Stone for Bloomberg Business.

  • Google has donated $775,000 to CODE2040 to pay for free training programs for more than 5,000 black and Latino college engineering students, reports Douglas Macmillan for the Wall Street Journal.

  • If you were at PDF 2013, you already know the story of Crisis Text Line, the 24/7 intervention service that helps youth in crisis via text message, which was founded by Nancy Lublin of DoSomething. Still, it's worth reading the glowing portrait drawn by Alice Gregory for The New Yorker. The service, she reports, is now receiving an average of 15,000 texts a day.

  • now has 49,000 neighborhood sites running around the US; this in-depth report by Denise Cheng for techPresident explains how it is learning what drives online local civic engagement.

  • Tom Steinberg, the majordomo of, the UK's oldest and most influential civic hacker organization, will be giving a free talk Tuesday February 9 at Civic Hall in NYC. RSVP here.

  • Registration for #CodeAcrossNYC, a two-day festival of liberating government data and civic tech, is now open. It's on Open Data weekend, Feb 21-22, when dozens of cities around the world hold similar hackathons.

  • Cool job: Citymart, the open innovation platform for cities, is looking to hire a NYC-based project manager.