Astroturf Is In Season When It Comes To Telco Lobbying

from the lobbyists-in-sheeps'-clothing dept

In case you hadn't noticed, the telco/broadband industry has been pretty busy in Washington DC lately trying to impact policy in their favor. And with that, of course, comes plenty of stories about so-called consumer groups that are really backed by the incumbents. This isn't that surprising or unknown... but a new report tries to remove the astroturf and shine a light on the dirt beneath it. It's good to make more people aware that these groups don't necessarily have consumers' real best interests at hand -- but it's hardly a surprise these days. So whatever happened to real consumer interest groups? Have they all disappeared? The really sad part, though, is that politicians and policy makers should already know that these groups aren't particularly legitimate -- so why do they still listen to them and use their information as the basis for legislation?


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  1.  
    identicon
    Mark, Mar 28th, 2006 @ 2:30pm

    Astroturf

    politicians and policy makers should already know that these groups aren't particularly legitimate -- so why do they still listen to them and use their information as the basis for legislation?


    Are you really looking for an answer to that question? The answer, in case anyone is wondering, is colored green and crinkles when you put it in your wallet.

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    Adam, Mar 28th, 2006 @ 3:00pm

    Re: Astroturf

    Only when it's fresh. Lettuce turns brown and soggy after a while.

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    michael, Mar 28th, 2006 @ 5:26pm

    Astroturf article

    why you say, Money of course!

     

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  4.  
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    crashIO, Mar 28th, 2006 @ 5:38pm

    Totally agree!

    You know I thought I was already paying $60 for high speed internet. Segregating the net is the worst idea in the world...not to mention the headache it would cause...I wrote my Congressman and I urge you all to do the same. These guys will think twice if they get flooded w/ 1000s of angry letters all saying "NO!" and "Hands off the NET!"

     

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  5.  
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    Sickened One, Mar 28th, 2006 @ 5:59pm

    People don't understand. Go ahead and segregate, Go ahead and "tier" access to the internet. It's only going to do 1 thing. Build a different business structure.

    Think about it. Lets say they charge for "download level" tiering. Another company is just going to "play the market" come along and waste competiton by being cheaper. Making the big dogs behind it suffer.

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 29th, 2006 @ 7:03am

    Re: Totally agree!

    These guys will think twice if they get flooded w/ 1000s of angry letters all saying "NO!" and "Hands off the NET!"

    Doubtful. If most letters get read at all, in most cases it will likely be by some low level fuctiontionary or "secretary". Only when the Democrats and Republicans start getting ovted out of office in large numbers will they start to take notice. Until "independants" and alternative parties started getting elected to office in noticable number, Washington could care less what we think.

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 29th, 2006 @ 7:14am

    The telcos (and other big monopoly megacorps) will eventually kill American business. The US is already 16th in broadband penetration, and we're ecstatic when we can get 15Mbs when countries like Sweden and South Korea are running 100Mbs. Just wait until India (a country with a consumer base 3-5 greater than ours) starts rolling out wide scale 100Mbs access.

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 29th, 2006 @ 8:58am

    Re:

    Another company is just going to "play the market" come along and waste competiton by being cheaper. Really? Cause I was under the impression that all the money the incumbents invested (some theirs, some taxpayer money) to build all the infrastructure mentioned above then all the money spent by the telco lobby to pass legislation preventing anyone else from using it had created a rather large barrier to enter the market. Which prevents any company from coming along to "play the market"

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Ned Ulbricht, Mar 29th, 2006 @ 9:49am

    So whatever happened to...?

    So whatever happened to real consumer interest groups? Have they all disappeared?



    Sure looks like it to me.



    The Common Cause report, “Wolves In Sheep's Clothing”, is a pure ad hominem attack. It reads like a losing argument.



    The report says that it “attempts to shine a light on some of the telecom industry's devious Astroturf campaigns, as well as their funding of think tanks for 'research' that supports the industry's agenda.” Well, read the report yourself—with a dash of critical thinking—and decide whether they've carried their self-assigned burden. I don't think they have.



    Instead of addressing the evils of unregulated monopoly versus regulatory capture in the telecom context—attempting to educate and enlighten the public—Common Cause appears to have descended to childish namecalling.



    Imho, someone needs to shine a bright spotlight on Common Cause, and ask the question whether they're intentionally throwing the debate in the style of the infamous Black Sox.



    Something stinks here.

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 29th, 2006 @ 9:56am

    I figured Google, if anyone, might have the impetus and financial pockets to start building their own fiber optic/cable networks (in major cites to start) since the telcos have already stolen hundreds of billions of dollars in the past ten years (in tax breaks, fee hikes and such with promises of building a 40+mbs system). However, it's doubtful that even they would be able to get around whatever government regualtions the telcos have lobbied for to prevent such an alternate sytem from even being laid.

    Instead it looks like Google might have plans to bypass dsl and cable completely by building their own WiFi networks.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 29th, 2006 @ 10:12am

    Re: So whatever happened to...?

    It's the business version of big government:

    The far left is accused of wanting a massive welfare state, but the only way to make that possible is to consolidate the mass of the wealth in the hands of a small majority.

    The far right is accused of wanting to limit the mass of the wealth in the hand of a small majority, but doing such merely result in the masses having little or nothing and requiring a massive welfare state.

    Different intent, same result.

    The same appears to be happening in the business world now.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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