An open letter to Level3: Put up or shut up!

Netflix provides a valuable and convenient online video delivery service that we all enjoy. Unfortunately, cable companies (like Comcast) all have a vested interest in privileging their own video content over any others. They also hold a de facto monopoly on sufficient broadband access for video, in most of the U.S. consumer market territory. American customers have to deal with this problem every day. Now you get to share in our misery, and marvel with us at the horrible state of broadband access, in the same country that created the Internet in the first place.

We have heard your complaints about Comcast’s abuse of its monopoly market position, used unfairly against you in peering negotiations. We feel your pain — we felt it well before you ever got involved, actually. But you seem to have forgotten that there’s something you can do, to help end the pain. It has been in your power all along. You can help build fiber connections to the same customers that cable companies (like Comcast) serve. You can work with municipal fiber deployments, residential open access networks, and new nonprofit cooperative services (like NELA-ISC for example) to compete directly in their cable monopoly network service areas, and create some real competition in American Internet access for once. Instead of just giving in to a monopolist tyrant’s paid peering fees, you can put your money to a better use, by directly creating more Internet access competition. Why haven’t you done this already? What is stopping you?

To help inspire you to action which I think will be mutually beneficial, I am issuing you a challenge.

In short: put up or shut up!

I am starting a cooperative funding project on ThePoint.com. If regular American consumers can fund a monopoly-breaking alternative network like NELA-ISC, before a big profitable Internet company like Level3 Communications can, then Level3 will be declared the whiny loser. If instead you help fund competitive consumer Internet access projects like NELA-ISC, and guide your destiny with your own actions, rather than merely complaining about the actions of monopolists with market incentives different from your own, then we will join you in your fight. We would then easily out-argue and out-compete all the monopolist Internet toll booths (like Comcast) together.

Yours Truly,
Jared Hardy
Founder
North East Los Angeles Internet Service Cooperative

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