We should own our communications infrastructure, right?*
As events in Egypt have shown dramatically, networks aren't always managed in the interests of their users. The actors might look different here in the US, but the effect isn't all that different.
The Personal Telco Project is dedicated to the idea that people have a central role in how their networks are operated. Today, most of the network infrastructure in Portland is owned by the incumbent telephone and cable companies. These companies do not always act in ways that coincide with the interests of their users. They place restrictions on what you are allowed to do with the connections you rent from them. They maintain scarcity of bandwidth to keep prices high. They cap your capacity to become producers/providers of services by limiting your upstream bandwidth. And they export buckets of cash from the local economy to investors/owners far away.
Personal Telco envisions a different model, where fiber-optic networking extends to everyones homes and businesses, where users are free to interconnect with whomever they want on a consentual basis, where the users own that infrastructure, either individually or communally through a city or non-profit utility. Where users pay for the infrastructure once, and then own it, and where abundance reduces the reflex to hoard and limit. Right now, the City Council in Portland calls public ownership of last mile infrastructure a “non-starter”. We think that attitude represents Failure; Failure now and Failure for decades to come. Let’s succeed, instead. Let’s talk about what Success looks like.
Personal Telco Project
Russell has been volunteering with the Personal Telco Project since 2005, currently its President. He is very interested in getting user-owned telecommunications infrastructure deployed in Portland and for everyone everywhere, generally, as an essential tool for Freedom and economy.
Russell is active in the Portland Linux/Unix Group (PLUG) as well, adopting Linux pretty much exclusively, starting in late 1992. Professionally, Russell is a Programmer/Scientific Data Analyst with experience managing, summarizing and analyzing data from large exposure assessment projects.