by Mike Masnick

Of Municipal Broadband, Astroturfing And Figuring Out What The Real Story Is

from the nice-try,-folks dept

It's been pretty fascinating to watch this story develop over the past few days. Of course, it's nothing new to find out that supposedly "objective" research was actually carried out to favor a specific interest, but congratulations should go out to Glenn Fleishman for focusing the attention on the real story here. The background is that an organization called the New Millennium Research Council came out with a report which seemed to suggest that all municipal broadband was pure evil (well, not exactly, but that's how the pre-release info made it sound). Glenn took it upon himself to pull back some of the curtain on the folks who were behind the report. eWeek then took that a step further, and suddenly the "story" was no longer about the evils of municipal broadband -- but the sketchy connections between powerful telco interests who have been fighting as hard as they can against any kind of competition and the group that wrote the study. Glenn later gave a thorough review of the actual report, where he notes it's not nearly as bad as it had appeared from the initial leaks, and that it does raise some valid points. However, the real story is the underhanded way in which this report was written, with money being funnelled from a group supported by the big telcos to what appears to be nothing more than a front organization to write up reports that favor its funders. Now, others are picking up on the astroturf attempt, rather than the study itself.

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