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Breaking Telco Monopoly Power through Public Ownership of Infrastructure

Northwest Academy
1130 SW Main Street
Portland, OR 97205, USA (map)

Northwest Academy 1208 SW 13th Ave, 2nd floor Portland, OR

The meeting will be in the Century building at 1208 SW 13th Ave, on the 2nd floor. When coming up 13th, there is an entrance to a surface lot behind our building. We're in the 2-story building (not the 5-story building). The lot should be empty at meeting time. Park anywhere except in the auction winner’s spot. If the the lot is full, use the lot behind the 5-story building.



We have a problem with federal telecommunications policy in the US. The problem is that federal regulators have decided that, instead of regulating, they would rely on competition, but competition doesn't occur naturally because of the de facto requirement to build your own infrastructure in order to compete. This leaves users vulnerable to economic predation by the owners of the infrastructure.

Municipal Broadband PDX is a newly formed group that wants to solve this problem by creating a publicly-owned network infrastructure.

Russell Senior, a member of Municipal Broadband PDX and president of the Personal Telco Project, has been advocating for this type of infrastructure for years. He'll talk to us about federal policy, the monopolistic conditions that result, and the abuses those monopolistic conditions allow. He'll also explain how a public telecommunications utility solves these problems and what such a network might look like. There will be a short video included in the presentation.

Please join us for this informative presentation and discussion! We'll have snacks, and there will be an opportunity for networking afterwards. We hope to see you there!

Schedule: 6:00 PM: Doors 6:10 PM: Introductions and news 6:15 PM: Presentation 7:15 PM: Q&A 7:30 PM: Wrap up and networking

Bio: Russell Senior has been involved with the Personal Telco Project since 2005. The Personal Telco Project is a volunteer-based non-profit in Portland, founded in November 2000, that cares about network freedom. We operate public-access wifi networks in about about 60 locations around the area, where other volunteers have agreed to host them (you can too!). About 120,000 unique devices connect to our networks annually. About 5,000 of those are habitual users. If you connect to one of our networks, we don't know who you are, and we don't care what you do; we just ask you not to get the host of the network in trouble. Russell has been President of Personal Telco since 2009.

Russell has had a 20+ year career as a research programmer and data manager. He did a 13-month hitch at the National Science Foundation funded Science and Technology Center for Coastal Margin Observation and Prediction in 2015-2016 and got to work on ocean glider and fixed station measurement data. He did a week-long research cruise from Newport, Oregon to about Longview, Washington on the Columbia River, mapping the ship-to-ship and ship-to-shore mesh network they use, as well as participating in vertical profiling of the ocean, estuary and river waters. Russell has been using Linux since 1992 and has been doing embedded Linux programming, primarily OpenWrt/LEDE on wireless routers for over a decade and has helped develop wifi-based consumer products.

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