Tag: "astroturf"

Posted October 7, 2009 by christopher

I hesitate to say, "know your enemy," because the carriers should not be our enemy. There are many ways these carriers can continue profiting even without damaging America's standing in international broadband rankings. However, they are instead attacking our efforts to regain parity with peer nations by forming astroturf groups to argue that only they can save us from the problems their lack of investment have created - and then only by reducing regulations on them. How convenient for them...

Thanks to Karl Bode for discussing how they operate:

This claim that their membership list is stocked with "consumer groups" turns out to be as bogus as their stated goals, given there's not a single viable consumer advocacy firm among the group's 100 members. BfA [Broadband for America] does, however, include dozens of "co-opted" minority, disability and other industry-funded groups. Said groups are used by lobbyists to pretend the interests and opinions presented to lawmakers have broad public support, and aren't just the monotonal whining of a handful of corporations interested solely in protecting revenues.

For example, a group that needs funding for a new events center will agree to parrot Verizon policy positions in public press releases. The National Association of the Deaf [NAD] did as much for the baby bells when Verizon and AT&T were trying to eviscerate existing TV laws, even though the law the group was busy cheerfully supporting resulted in cherry-picked next-generation broadband deployment for NAD's constituents.

Photo used under Creative Commons license - thanks to flickr's limonada.

Posted August 20, 2009 by christopher

There are so many interesting articles recently (some are actually a bit older than recent, I guess).

  • How did Sweden get so connected? BuddeBlog took a look at how Sweden has invested so greatly into advanced fiber networks. This short post looks at factors from geography to government policy that have helped.

  • Andrew Cohill, an advocate of both fiber and wireless networks, offers a simple explanation for why wireless can only be part of the solution to the problem of universal broadband. Wireless just cannot provide the same high reliability and speeds of wired connections.

  • Following up on yesterday's call on the FCC to stop ignoring muni broadband, Karl Bode observes:

    Interestingly, of the 51 "constituents" brought in for the 8 most recent workshops, just five don't work for a corporation -- and zero of them act as witnesses for consumer interests (so clearly, you've got your work cut out for you).

  • And finally, Timothy Karr at Free Press has been unmasking astroturf groups funded by major carriers. Learn more with this fun widget (available here).

  • Posted April 17, 2009 by christopher

    From Common Cause report description:

    Cable, telephone and Internet industry giants are fiercely lobbying, using every tool at their disposal to gain a competitive advantage in telecom reform legislation. Some of those tools are easy to spot - campaign contributions, television ads that run only inside the Beltway, and meetings with influential members of Congress. Other tactics are more insidious.

    One of the underhanded tactics increasingly being used by telecom companies is "Astroturf lobbying" -- creating front groups that try to mimic true grassroots, but that are all about corporate money, not citizen power.

    Another industry approach is to fund "think tanks" and nonprofit groups with innocuous sounding names to write reports and policy papers. These groups accept subsidies or grants from corporate interests to lobby or produce research when they normally might not, but too often fail to disclose the connection between their policy positions and their bank accounts.

    Pages

    Subscribe to astroturf