Big Telecom Resorts To Lying To Senior Citizens To Scuttle Net Neutrality In California

from the disinformation-nation dept

With the bipartisan majority of Americans supporting net neutrality, the broadband industry often has to resort to outright falsehoods to try and make its case that we don’t need net neutrality rules (or any meaningful oversight of natural telecom monopolies). From paying civil rights groups to parrot industry positions to hiring fake journalists to deny the obvious, the broadband industry has a long, proud, multi-decade history of using outright bullshit to scare the public, press and regulators away from the idea of net neutrality.

The latest case in point: after AT&T lobbyists successfully sabotaged initial efforts to pass new net neutrality rules in California, the state this week revisited the effort with a new vote on the state assembly floor. In a bid to try and scuttle the effort, an AT&T-linked group by the name of Civil Justice Association of California (CJAC) has been robocalling senior citizens in the state, informing them that their cell phone bill will jump $30 if the new rules pass. California State Senator Scott Wiener, the author of California’s bill, wasn’t particularly impressed:

The group is informing seniors that should California pass net neutrality rules, they’ll not only see a $30 hike in their cellular phone bills, but their data will be “slowed down”:

“Your Assembly member will be voting on a proposal by San Francisco politicians that could increase your cellphone bill by $30 a month and slow down your data. We can’t afford higher cell phone bills. We can’t afford slower data. We can’t afford Senate Bill 822.”

Of course the bill in question, SB822, does nothing of the sort. Like most net neutrality bills, it prohibits AT&T from throttling or slowing down your cellular data connections anti-competitively, and if anything will likely save California consumers money by preventing AT&T from nickel and diming them (via zero rating, interconnection shenanigans, charging you more just to watch HD video as intended, or countless other creative abuses of the largely-uncompetitive broadband market). The information conveyed by the robocall is patently false.

Knowing the bill is likely to pass in some form, AT&T, Verizon and Comcast lobbyists have spent the last few months trying to strip away most of the integral parts of the bill. With those efforts struggling in activist-heavy California, apparently the broadband industry thought the next best move would be to lie to senior citizens, which speaks volumes of the quality and integrity of its arguments.

Filed Under: , , ,
Companies: at&t, civil justice association

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Big Telecom Resorts To Lying To Senior Citizens To Scuttle Net Neutrality In California”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: "We were going to do X. Now we're going to do X, praise us!"

Reminds of of the articles where it’s pointed out that as part of a deal of whatever kind, merger or whatnot, they’ll promise to connect to X number of areas/houses.

Thing is, they were going to do that anyway, or already had, so all they were doing was trying to be rewarded for something they were already going to do, or already had, as though it had anything to do with the deal.

Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re:

It sounds like a threat to me, and that should be illegal.

On the other hand, whether the bill passes or not, the rates will go up due to lack of competition. Let the mergers proceed, so the rates can go up faster.

A better bill would be requiring competition, though I guess that would be hard to do at the state level.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

It sounds like a threat to me, and that should be illegal.

Yeah, I was interpreting this as a threat too, rather than a lie. To declare it a lie we’d have to know that AT&T isn’t going to raise the bill by $30/mo and slow down their service as a fuck-you and a warning to other states not to try the same. I can’t say that with any confidence.

Anonymous Coward says:

big telco is ripping you off anyway

… until you realize this and start to bother politicians to improve the situation. My guess is that with proper laws and some regulation creating competition the average bill could be cut down to 2/3 while also encouraging telcos to invest into infrastructure and real broadband access for customers instead of just taking subsidies without delivering anything besides fake news.

Anonymous Coward says:

It speaks volumes for the integrity of all the main broadband players in the USA in general, not just in California! These fuckers lie so much, so often and for so long i doubt if they even could fathom the truth. What’s as bad is the members of Congress that go along with the bullshit just so as to be able to carry on lining their own pockets! Disgraceful!

Anonymous Coward says:

I am having fun

Are you guys having fun?

Such a shame and regulation is failing all over the place… no wait… it’s not failing at all. It is doing just exactly what it intended to do.

Give businesses like ATT “natural monopolies” so they can fuck you over so that you would have to run to “dirty politicians”, that takes ATT’s money that ATT took from you, and beg for NN like the ignorant worms you are.

You deserve ATT because you approve of them having monopolies. I though you fucking knobs knew how this shit works? But apparently you think you know far fucking more than you actually do!

Get rid of NN and go for the kill… end the monopolies! Your problems will never be gone, but killing those monopolies will do far more for you than those bullshit NN rules ever will! As usually the best you simpletons have is to give those corrupt bastards more power. The current power is not working, what is more power going to do exactly?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: I am having fun

See, this is the level of “intelligence” of TD.

If I support regulations that work against monopolies and anti-trust I am obviously not against all regulations.

This is just a construct of your small and limited minds. That is your number one problem, any talk about destroying regulations for you guys means TOTAL 100% no room for even 1 regulation churning.

You guys have not fucking sense, not even a little bit. The problem is your “regulate all the things” mentality because there is NO CONTROL behind it.

I am okay with NARROW defined regulations that help guard against the negatives of a free-market, mainly “lazy fucking never my fault citizens” who think all salvation comes from the muttering of politicians getting paid by the people you seek relief from.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 I am having fun

I don’t need to be clever at all around you numbnuts.

You know some things just enough to make you self destructive. If you had the secret to eternal energy in your hands you would blow yourselves the fuck up!

The things you are doing right now will become the shackles you wear tomorrow. There is no such thing as a benevolent government. Another Hitler, Mussolini, Mao, or Pol Pott will get into power and fuck you sideways with the powers and tools you gave them to do it with!

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: I am having fun

I am okay with NARROW defined regulations that help guard against the negatives of a free-market, mainly "lazy fucking never my fault citizens" who think all salvation comes from the muttering of politicians getting paid by the people you seek relief from.

As are we. In our case, we laid out a clear argument why net neutrality regulation was that NARROW defined regulation that help guard against the negatives of an anti-competitive market.

And because of that one thing — where we seem to agree with you — you continue to insist, day in and day out, that we support "regulate all the things."

Why? Why do you do this?

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 I am having fun

Because they are a liar and/or troll who enjoy beating up the phantom TD they’ve created in their head too much to be honest and have an honest discussion, instead choosing to bask in their fictional superiority as they best the imaginary and straw filled TD they present.

That or they just really want to help the site by stress-testing the flag as troll button.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: I am having fun

Name a country where the fixed line telcos and cable are not a monopoly in the area they serve? Mobile only has multiple carriers serving many areas because localized monopoly mobile is almost useless because people want their mobile to work at home, at work, and when they travel to the other side of the country.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: I am having fun

I don’t care about the “other cuntries” they can do what they want. But here in America there are actually some areas where fixed line telcos do not have total monopolies, the problem is that this is not near enough or even consistent.

Mobile has NOTHING to do with this problem. In fact it is not the technical aspects that are the problems here. The problems are all “manufactured” by the SUCK ATT’s DICK pro NN dimwits.

ATT does not need to have a government granted natural monopoly on shit.

We need to, here it comes FUCKERS, “regulate the infrastructure” like we used to do roads before toll roads became a fucking thing.

I am all for sensible, meaningful, and narrow regulation. I am just not for the “government owns, controls, and decides who gets what” regulations that these fucking set harming knobs want!

ShadowNinja (profile) says:

Re: I am having fun

Read up on ‘Natural Monopolies’.

There’s a reason why the utility regulations were invented. They’re a natural monopoly on a vital resource in many parts of the country.

Hence it’s literally not possible in a true free market for the government to ensure competition in the ISP market even if they try breaking up the monopolies. In less population dense parts of the country it’s simply not economically possible for 2 or more competitions to be in an area, especially in rural areas with lots of land and few people.

This is why the government to this day still subsidizes landlines in many rural parts of the country, and why there’s a tax for it on your phone bill.

Anonymous Coward says:

Worst game of Telephone ever.

It’s so frustrating to watch this game the telecom groups play.

They spend so much effort getting their restrictions and oversight removed, then mock their detractors for pointing out how bad that is by saying “Oh but look nothing bad that you said was going to happen is happening!” knowing full well they are simply waiting till the news cycle moves away from them (and the lawsuits are done).

Now they sit there and falsely claim that NN rules will force them to raise rates and slow speeds, and if the rules pass they can fulfill their own prophecy and use that as “proof” that NN hurts consumers, even though they orchestrated the whole damn thing. And to top it off, they can get away with it because they just got done gutting meaningful oversight.

Tom O'Reilly says:

What's "anti-competitively" about charging heaviest users more?

prohibits AT&T from throttling or slowing down your cellular data connections anti-competitively

charging you more just to watch HD video

So what’s NOT neutral about directly proportional to byte counts?

Now, I’ve asked several times for a definition of "net neutrality" and the minion gives a clearly impractical, self-contradictory outline right there!

What you kids mean by the phrase is you’d be saturating the towers continually so you can sit mesmerized by HD video, while anyone calling the Fire Dept to actually report a fire can’t get a few bytes of bandwidth. Don’t seem to understand limited capacity.

Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: What's "anti-competitively" about charging heaviest users more?

The telecom’s have had plenty of time, and money, to expand their capacity. It is not their customers fault they chose not to.

You seem to think that having inherently low capacity and the right to charge more when the capacity gets tested, rather than having adequate capacity, not just for today’s usage, but for what might be coming, especially when they KNOW it’s coming far in advance, is something we should put up with.

Net Neutrality means that all traffic get the same priority. Now that priority might be lower for, say torrents, and higher for, say video streaming. The problem is that they want THEIR video streaming to have a higher priority and lower cost as compared to THE OTHER GUYS video streaming which gets a lower priority and higher cost. That is not neutral. Then there is their concept of ‘unlimited’ which is severely limited and speed impacted whey ‘THEY’ feel like it.

An ISP, no matter how one gets the service, should be a dumb pipe. That an ISP also owns content providers should not affect that dumb pipe. Using the dumb pipe to market their content is an abrogation of the original deal. I buy Internet access from an ISP. Not content. If I buy content, then I choose a content provider. If I choose the content the ISP owned content provider provides, well good for them. Why should I be penalized, by the ISP for choosing someone else’s content?

You want everyone to pay by the byte. Well they do. That the lack of competition allows them to change the deal while in mid deal and raise prices willy nilly, without giving anything more, or even justify the supposed underlying inflation, is again, not the users fault. THEY use their money to buy legislators and laws that prevent or hinder the competition that would both improve quality AND price because THEIR investors want growth. Both growth in quarterly profits and overall growth annually. Something that is unsustainable given that there are only so many customers, a commodity that won’t expand very rapidly, and may shrink. Hence the mergers that try to forestall the fact that the market is limited. But even when there is only one left, growth will not be sustainable. What will they do then? I am fairly certain that you, a telecom shill, will be happy with whatever they come up with.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: What's "anti-competitively" about charging heaviest users more?

  • Calling people Kids simply because you hold a different viewpoint is not only insulting but it undermines your argument.
  • In the case of the firefighters, they were being throttled by the company when they were not supposed to be. The bill also has wording that essentially prioritizes them.
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: What's "anti-competitively" about charging heaviest users more?

Congestion happens when too much bandwidth is demanded now, like this millisecond. Data caps limit how much data can use in a month. The time scale difference is such that data caps have nothing to do with avoiding congestion. If, as is common there as some sources sources allowed outside the data caps, it becomes even more obvious that they have nothing to do with capacity management, but a lot to do with market manipulation for extra profit.

The Wanderer (profile) says:

Re: Re: What's "anti-competitively" about charging heaviest users more?

To be fair, there’s a tiny connection between congestion and data caps: if you know that you can only use so much data within a month, you’re more likely to spread the usage of that data out across the month rather than concentrating it in one narrow time period, so the chance of your using so much data in any one millisecond that congestion results is likely to be smaller.

It’s not at all clear that this link is strong enough to justify the argument for data caps as a way to fight congestion, however.

Unrepentant Globetard says:

Re: What's "anti-competitively" about charging heaviest users more?

They already charge the heaviest users more, the bill doesn’t stop them from doing that, and you know it. In fact the bill doesn’t deal with pricing at all. It says you can’t charge more for Netflix HD bytes than you do for Hulu HD bytes just because you own one and not the other. Or that you can slow down Netflix HD bytes while making sure Hulu HD bytes have faster access. So you know you’re lying, must have been the guy that wrote the copy for the Robo calls. Just another corporate toool. smh

Richard Bennett says:

As usual Bodey McBodeface is missing the point

It doesn’t matter whether people, bots or corpses make the posts or calls. What matters is the content, and the content is that net neutrality is a big fat Google lie! Oooh, fuck you Bode. I wish Pai daddy put you in a wood chipper, but that would just make it harder for me to shit down your throat.

The Wanderer (profile) says:

Re: Re: As usual Bodey McBodeface is missing the point

I’m about 99.44% certain that’s a Poe-ing troll, not the actual Richard Bennett. (In addition to the over-the-top offensive rhetoric, beyond what even Richard Bennett has historically used, IIRC the actual guy usually posts logged in and with a non-snowflake avatar.)

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...
Older Stuff
04:48 Dumb Telecom Take Of The Week: Because The Internet Didn't Explode, Killing Net Neutrality Must Not Have Mattered (23)
09:37 British Telecom Wants Netflix To Pay A Tax Simply Because Squid Game Is Popular (32)
04:55 Axios Parrots A Lot Of Dumb, Debunked Nonsense About Net Neutrality (54)
10:50 NY AG Proves Broadband Industry Funded Phony Public Support For Attack On Net Neutrality (10)
06:24 The GOP Is Using Veterans As Props To Demonize Net Neutrality (22)
06:03 Telecom Using Veterans As Props To Demonize California's New Net Neutrality Law (12)
09:32 AT&T Whines That California Net Neutrality Rules Are Forcing It To Behave (11)
06:23 The New York Times (Falsely) Informs Its 7 Million Readers Net Neutrality Is 'Pointless' (51)
15:34 Facebook's Australian News Ban Did Demonstrate The Evil Of Zero Rating (18)
04:58 'Net Neutrality Hurt Internet Infrastructure Investment' Is The Bad Faith Lie That Simply Won't Die (11)
05:48 Dumb New GOP Talking Point: If You Restore Net Neutrality, You HAVE To Kill Section 230. Just Because! (66)
06:31 DOJ Drops Ridiculous Trump-Era Lawsuit Against California For Passing Net Neutrality Rules (13)
06:27 The Wall Street Journal Kisses Big Telecom's Ass In Whiny Screed About 'Big Tech' (13)
10:45 New Interim FCC Boss Jessica Rosenworcel Will Likely Restore Net Neutrality, Just Not Yet (5)
15:30 Small Idaho ISP 'Punishes' Twitter And Facebook's 'Censorship' ... By Blocking Access To Them Entirely (81)
05:29 A Few Reminders Before The Tired Net Neutrality Debate Is Rekindled (13)
06:22 U.S. Broadband Speeds Jumped 90% in 2020. But No, It Had Nothing To Do With Killing Net Neutrality. (12)
12:10 FCC Ignores The Courts, Finalizes Facts-Optional Repeal Of Net Neutrality (19)
10:46 It's Opposite Day At The FCC: Rejects All Its Own Legal Arguments Against Net Neutrality To Claim It Can Be The Internet Speech Police (13)
12:05 Blatant Hypocrite Ajit Pai Decides To Move Forward With Bogus, Unconstitutional Rulemaking On Section 230 (178)
06:49 FCC's Pai Puts Final Bullet In Net Neutrality Ahead Of Potential Demotion (25)
06:31 The EU Makes It Clear That 'Zero Rating' Violates Net Neutrality (6)
06:22 DOJ Continues Its Quest To Kill Net Neutrality (And Consumer Protection In General) In California (11)
11:08 Hypocritical AT&T Makes A Mockery Of Itself; Says 230 Should Be Reformed For Real Net Neutrality (28)
06:20 Trump, Big Telecom Continue Quest To Ban States From Protecting Broadband Consumers (19)
06:11 Senators Wyden And Markey Make It Clear AT&T Is Violating Net Neutrality (13)
06:31 Net Neutrali-what? AT&T's New Streaming Service Won't Count Against Its Broadband Caps. But Netflix Will. (25)
06:23 Telecom's Latest Dumb Claim: The Internet Only Works During A Pandemic Because We Killed Net Neutrality (49)
13:36 Ex-FCC Staffer Says FCC Authority Given Up In Net Neutrality Repeal Sure Would Prove Handy In A Crisis (13)
06:27 Clarence Thomas Regrets Brand X Decision That Paved Way For The Net Neutrality Wars (11)
More arrow