About F2C

Thank you for coming to F2C: Freedom to Connect 2015! [last mods 16Mar15]

A video archive of F2C 2015 with slides as available is on the Agenda page.

Many, many great photos of F2C are at flickr.com #f2c15.

F2C: Freedom to Connect 2015 happened on March 2 and 3, 2015 at Civic Hall, 156 Fifth Avenue at 20th Street, New York, NY 10010. F2C is an exploration of the technology, economics and politics of the Internet and a celebration of its bottom-up, innovative, democracy-enhancing, life-affirming properties.

The speakers at F2C, each a hero of the free, open Internet, included Jim Baller, William Binney, Lani Cossette, Molly Crabapple, Susan Crawford, Cory Doctorow, Tom Drake, Harold Feld, Margaret Flowers, Dan Geer, Barton Gellman, Dan Gillmor, Evan Greer, Nick Grossman, Sam Gustin, Joanne Hovis, Matthew L. Jones, Tim Karr, Cayden Mak, Hilary Mason, Milo Medin, Chris Mitchell, Eben Moglen, Sarah Morris, Friedrich Moser, Elliot Noss, David P. Reed, Chris Ritzo, Rashad Robinson, Michal Rosenn, Hannah Sassaman, Bruce Schneier, David Segal, Deb Socia, Gigi Sohn, Zephyr Teachout, Trevor Timm, Joseph Torres, J. Kirk Wiebe, Matt Wood, Aaron Wright, Tim Wu and Kevin Zeese.

[See the F2C Speakers page for bios, photos and affiliations.]


Attendance by registration only

Thanks to all who registered for F2C 2015!

Webcast available

A live Webcast of the stage of F2C: Freedom to Connect was available from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM Monday and Tuesday for $25. Sign up at http://freedom-to-connect.cleeng.com/

[Note: Monday evening program will not be Webcast.]

Dress Code

Business casual.


There is no official F2C hotel.The two closest hotels to F2C are Hotel Verité on 19th Street and The Wyndham Garden on 24th Street.

If you're coming from out of town and need a place to stay, what I'd recommend is go to Google Maps, find Civic Hall at 156 Fifth Avenue, then "search near" for hotels. This link does that. I have also had good luck with Hotwire (look in the Empire State, Chelsea and Madison Square Garden areas).


The agenda -- fairly stable but subject to change -- is posted at http://freedom-to-connect.net/agenda.html.

About F2C: Freedom to Connect -- tag #F2C15

F2C: Freedom to Connect is a conference devoted to preserving and celebrating the essential properties of the Internet. The Internet is a success today because it is stupid, abundant and simple. In other words, its neutrality, its openness to rapidly developing technologies and its layered architecture are the reasons it has succeeded where others (e.g., ISDN, Interactive TV) failed.

F2C: Freedom to Connect provides a platform for understanding the social utility of infrastructure, for innovation, for creativity, for expression, for little-d democracy. The Freedom to Connect is about an Internet that supports human freedoms and personal security. These values are dear to many of us whose consciousness has been shaped by the Internet, but they are often at odds with the values of mainstream media, Wall Street and governments around the world.

F2C: Freedom to Connect is about having access to the Internet as infrastructure. Infratructures belong to — and enrich — the whole society in which they exist. They gain value — in a wide variety of ways, some of which are difficult to anticipate — when more members of society have access to them. The marginal costs of Internet connectivity are so low and the benefits so high that the free rider problem diminishes towards insignificance. F2C: Freedom to Connect especially honors those who build communications infrastructure for the Internet in their own communities, often overcoming resistance from incumbent cable and telephone companies to do so.

The phrase "freedom to connect" is now official US foreign policy, thanks to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s Remarks on Internet Freedom in 2010. She said that Freedom to Connect is, “the idea that governments should not prevent people from connecting to the internet, to websites, or to each other. The freedom to connect is like the freedom of assembly, only in cyberspace.” Her speech presaged Internet-fueled assemblies from Alexandria, Egypt to Zuccotti Park. F2C: Freedom to Connect celebrates the freedom to connect and assemble everywhere, especially in the United States.

The Freedom to Connect stands on three legs.

The first leg is infrastructure, the rights of way, the poles and conduits, the wires and fibers and binder groups and cables, the electromagnetic spectrum, towers, antennas, receivers and transmitters, how they work, how their economics and business models work, and how the regulation of infrastructure promotes and impedes public telecommunications services.

The second leg is the fundamental nature of the Internet, namely well-specified, well-understood public protocols, universally implemented with universal connectivity and open to all who meet its specifications.

The third is the use of the Internet to promote bottom-up innovation and government of, by and for the people and to counteract anti-innovative vested interests and autocratic power. 

In previous years at F2C: Freedom to Connect . . .

[F2C was on hiatus in 2014]

F2C 2013 featured keynotes by Glenn Greenwald, Vint Cerf, Darcy Burner, and Peter Cochrane, some songs by Lester Chambers of the legendary Chambers Brothers (made possible and introduced by Alexis Ohanian), a panel on big money and state law with Ed Bender and Catharine Rice, a discussion with Derek Khanna (who was fired from the U.S. House for his overly-clueful, promptly suppressed GOP copyright memo), a report from Lafayette, Louisiana on its now-complete municipal FTTH network, and the live broadcast of Democracy Now's daily news hour from the F2C stage.

F2C: Freedom to Connect 2012 featured keynotes by Aaron Swartz, Eben Moglen, Susan Crawford, Vint Cerf, Lawrence Lessig, and others. Here is a video of a few highlights from F2C 2012. The entire proceedings are on video here, including this great talk by Professor Eben Moglen, and Aaron Swartz's famous speech on How We Stopped SOPA.

[F2C was on hiatus in 2010 and 2011.]

The theme of F2C: Freedom to Connect 2009 was “The Emerging Internet Economy.” All eyes are on the economy. The Obama Administration has declared the Internet a keystone. Columnist Tom Friedman was our keynote speaker.

The theme of F2C: Freedom to Connect 2008 was “The Netheads Come to Washington.” Open fiber projects in Amsterdam, Tokyo, Louisiana and Vermont were presented. Netroots US Representative Donna Edwards and security expert Bruce Schneier spoke. In addition, F2C devoted half a day to “Making the Internet Carbon-Negative.”

The theme of F2C: Freedom to Connect 2007 was “The Wealth of Networks” featuring Yochai Benkler. Vermont Governor Jim Douglas announced Vermont’s e-state initiative, and FCC Commissioner Adelstein spoke and played the harmonica.

The theme of F2C: Freedom to Connect 2006 was “The Network Neutrality Battle.” James Q. Crowe was the keynote speaker, FCC Commissioner Copps made an appearance, and Representative Rick Boucher gave a frank insider’s view of the politics of the unsuccessful telecom bill of 2006.

The theme of F2C: Freedom to Connect 2005 was “The Future of Communications.” Vint Cerf was the keynote speaker.

Musicians in Residence

Music is a communications technology that predates the Internet by some 50,000 years. Also, certain forms of music (especially jazz) are integral to popular culture and, often, social justice movements. Therefore music is an integral part of F2C: Freedom to Connect.

F2C 2014 Musicians in Residence: Mona's Hot Four!

Mona's Hot Four is leading the Hot Jazz (or Traditional Jazz) Revival that - amplified by the free open Internet - is sweeping New York City (and the world) at this time. At F2C, Mona's Hot Four will be Dennis Lichtman (clarinet), Jake Saunders (guitar & tenor banjo), Jared Engel (bass), Matt Musselman (trombone on Monday), and Bria Skonberg (trumpet on Tuesday).

Past F2C Musicians in Residence include:


F2C: Freedom to Connect would not happen without many people who give generously of their time, resources and expertise. Thanks especially to Dewayne Hendricks & Judi Clark for essential assistance with F2C's infrastructure from the beginning, to the ISOC-enabled video team headed by Paul Brigner, to Andrew Rasiej and Micah Sifry who opened Civic Hall and made it hospitable, to Asher Novek for diligent back office work, and to many others who have contributed their time, expertise and care.

Fine Print

Nothing on this Web site should be taken as a promise or guarantee. Of course I will make a best effort to see that what we plan is what you get. But sometimes stuff happens unexpectedly, so the only promise here is a sincere best effort, and timely information as we learn of changes. Let me put this another way: if you don't demand the impossible, we will do everything we can to deliver it. -- David I

F2C and Freedom to Connect are registered at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office as Service Marks #4,504,207 and #4,504,208.

The clouds on the F2C15 banner are remixed from a Creative Commons licensed photo by Johnathan Davies [more info].