Say That Again

by Mike Masnick

AT&T Loves Tax-Supported Muni Broadband... When Provided By AT&T

from the funny-how-that-works... dept

We recently pointed out AT&T's amazing ability to take two totally opposite positions concerning "competition" and government involvement, depending on which side it was on. However, here's an even more striking case. Back when AT&T was known as SBC (not so long ago...), you may recall CEO Ed Whitacre trashing any talk of muni-broadband. Specifically, he talked about how important it was to lobby against muni-broadband, because he didn't want his tax dollars going to fund broadband and he didn't think it was fair for competition. Apparently, that doesn't apply when he and his company are the beneficiaries. The Chicago Tribune is reporting that residents in Bedford Park are all about to be offered free, tax-payer supported DSL, provided by none other than AT&T. Suddenly, it appears, AT&T has no problem whatsoever with muni-broadband -- even if it's entirely supported by tax dollars and allows them to unfairly compete with the local cable company, who offers a paid cable modem service. So, does this mean the company will stop trying to have its own former employee, now-Congressperson pass legislation banning any kind of muni-broadband? Or will they stop lobbying against other types of muni-broadband, even when they're not at all tax payer supported? Somehow, it seems unlikely.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Agonizing Fury, Apr 24th, 2006 @ 4:29am

    This is all too familiar

    I am starting to get used to hearing stories like this. Corporations claim that "it's unfair" and shout about how it's the most evil idea this century, but what, you mean there's money in it for us? What a great idea... (RIAA vs. Music available online anyone?)

    Maybe before they start to shun a new idea, they should look and see if there is money to be made in it first. Almost any municipality is going to need to sub-contract something like this out, as most municipalities don't have the knowledgeable people or equipment to handle it.

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

  2. identicon
    Mr Angry, Apr 24th, 2006 @ 4:45am

    When will they be satisfied?

    Are these psychpathic companies not going to stop until they've destroyed the internet? Do they not understand that they are making money from the net basically because they never had the opportunity to screw it up? I take faith that things have developed far enough that these blunding giants can't really destroy the net... but sometimes I worry.

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

  3. identicon
    Nutz4Dawgs, Apr 24th, 2006 @ 5:45am

    Reminds me of...

    Senator John Kerry: "I voted for it until I voted against it."

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

  4. identicon
    Doug G., Apr 24th, 2006 @ 5:59am

    free, tax-payer supported

    "free, tax-payer supported" is an oxymoron.

    Nothing gets a corporations attention better than government forcibly taking money from citizens (taxation) and then giving to the corporation. This is the whole reason taxpayer supported broadband is a bad idea. Let the free market provide it without getting bureaucrats in the middle. Competition is good.

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

  5. identicon
    Agonizing Fury, Apr 24th, 2006 @ 6:07am

    Re: free, tax-payer supported

    The Problem IMHO, Doug, is that there isn't enough (if any) competition, as the laws have given the large telcos a monopoly, so they can charge whatever they want. Muni-Wifi is one form of competition that can force the telcos to either adapt, or die (kind of like natural selection, with a twist) Now, personally, I would rather see Muni-FiOS or something to that extent, because where I live it is way to rural to be seeing FiOS any time in the near future. Just my two-more cents (up to four on this one)

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

  6. identicon
    Evil Otto, Apr 24th, 2006 @ 7:02am

    That's great, but..

    Muni broadband is a Very Bad Idea. I personally don't want any level of government to have any involvement beyond what's absolutely necessary in providing my Internet access, so I'll never use municipal broadband given a choice. That choice might be the worst provider out there but I'll still go that way. The NSA already monitors Internet traffic, but why make it easier for them by having the lines controlled by the local government?

    Beyond the tinfoil hat concerns, introducing local government's already Byzantine bureaucracy into the already completely lousy support offered by most broadband providers means terrible service. There will also be no incentive for the provider to add value at any point in the future, since they won't be making any more money (assuming the contract has been negotiated for fixed rates with fixed features.)

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

  7. identicon
    alternatives, Apr 24th, 2006 @ 7:25am

    I personally don't want any level of government to have any involvement beyond what's absolutely necessary in providing my Internet access,

    The bargin forthe telcos was "We the Government will grab the land and you the telco's will provide service to the citizens for their benefit".

    Given the government gave them the monopoly, the mega-corm should eithe shut up of turn over the infrasstructure and not have access to the goverment grabbed land.

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

  8. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 24th, 2006 @ 7:47am


    couldnt american politicians at least try to keep up SOME ILLUSION of not being completely corrupt and bought off? i mean.. do they constantly have to rub it in our faces on a daily bases how spineless and corrupt they are?
    couldnt they at least 1 day of the week look out for PUBLIC INTEREST? rather than corporate interest?

    the only reason politicians ever disagree is cause many of them are bought and owned by competting companies

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

  9. identicon
    Emmanual Goldstein, Apr 24th, 2006 @ 7:52am

    Re: Reminds me of...

    Your comment sort of reminds me of a retarded Republican who remembers one bad John Kerry quote to help shield himself from all the stupid and shady quotes Bush has uttered.

    In fact, this is all sort of symptomatic of the Bush administration.

    Remember when monopolies (like AT&T) would have been taken to court for unfair practices against competitors (such as Verizon and SBC)?
    Remember when the main way people made money from the Internet was from actual businesses and adevertisements and not from monopolistic ownership of the connection?
    Rememember when it was illegal for the NSA to tap your internet connection?

    Reminds me of when Bush lied about... just about everything.

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

  10. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 24th, 2006 @ 8:37am

    Re: Re: Reminds me of...

    Nope. Just simpler to remember one of the worst quotes than to waste time typing ALL of the inane things he (and his ilk) have uttered over the past few years!

    Also note: AT&T and SBC are no longer "competitors" since the purchase and renaming.

    You may now return to your cocoon.

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

  11. identicon
    Bob, Apr 24th, 2006 @ 9:29am

    If the people who would get this wouldnt be so lazy and actually earn some money through working they wouldnt need free internet from government. Therefor they should be given nothing at all free until they get a job!!!!!

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

  12. identicon
    Emmanual Goldstein, Apr 25th, 2006 @ 7:05am

    Re: Re: Re: Reminds me of...

    Yeah, you're so slick.
    AT&t bought SBC after they beat that anti-trust lawsuit that allowed them to charge other DSL providers (such as SBC and Verizon) for use of their phone lines (that, in most cases, were paid by nat'l, state, and, local gov'ts) to provide DSL service, thus guaranteeing unfair competition.

    I also noticed you poked your head back in your turtle shell and ignored the fact that Bush is a lying dumbass.

    Republicans have no sense of irony. That's why there are no good Republican comedians, artists, writers, or economists. Supply-side is for 'tards and thieves.

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

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