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Home » Josh Shapiro: “Los Angeles Community Broadband Project” @ Talks at Google (Transcript)

Josh Shapiro: “Los Angeles Community Broadband Project” @ Talks at Google (Transcript)


JOSH SHAPIRO: So we are the Los Angeles Community Broadband Project. I’m Josh Shapiro, the founder and acting executive director. We’re building a community-driven wireless ISP in Los Angeles. That’s an Internet Service Provider that is built by the community for the community. And we’ve started by assembling a team of community members, professionals in each of their areas. And our goal is to create an ISP that has and maintains a symbiotic relationship between the customer or a member and the business, which is very different than the model we’re all currently familiar with. So moving along, we believe that the root of the problem right here in Los Angeles and elsewhere is a lack of competition.

The incumbent ISPs, they operate off of anti-competitive model, where their goal is to segregate a portion of the market and sort of territorialize it to maintain control. That has obvious problems for the consumer, being that– all of the symptoms of an anti-competitive market. It’s expensive. The customer service is poor. The service quality itself is lower.

And now we’re running into problems where we’re starting to see what we believe are the beginnings of the monetization of the internet like cable television. The big step in that direction is, of course, the FCC decision to repeal Title II and net neutrality. That is just a precursor on a potential multi-step path to building internet services into a tiered system, where there’s a fast-track lane and a slow-track lane. And if you’re not paying or if the services aren’t paying, then your access to that content at the consumer level could be limited, possibly restricted. At the very least, it’s an inconvenience.

At the most, you could be talking about the difficulties to access specific information, which has its implications. So most of you, though, at a consumer level right now, are sort of feeling the strain and the inconvenience level. And just sort of break down one of the symptoms of a territorialized market, I guess, is the service quality itself and the cost of it. So we just took one customer’s service plan on an incumbent ISP– it’s a 100 megabit plan– and started to just run some numbers off of that. It’s $65 a month for on a non-promo rate. I think it drops to about $50 on a promo.

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