Sometimes, telecoms lobbyists can't help telling the truth

18 June 2017 by Steve Blum
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When I see a headline like "Broadband speeds have soared under net neutrality rules, cable lobby says", I gotta click on it. So I did and landed on an article by Jon Brodkin on Ars Technica.

There’s no Damascene conversion involved, though. What Brodkin is highlighting is how cable lobbyists, such as the National Cable Television Association (or whatever they say the acronym stands for these days), brag about faster Internet speeds, while at the same time bemoaning the infrastructure investment apocalypse that must surely follow the FCC’s 2015 decision to regulate broadband as a common carrier service…

As we can see, the NCTA has flexible messaging and applies conflicting arguments to different situations.


Broadband astroturf grows thicker

10 June 2014 by Steve Blum
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The astroturfing season is officially open. According to a story in Vice, big incumbent ISPs are trying to make their opposition to new FCC network neutrality rules or, worse, reclassification of broadband as a regulated, common carrier service look like it’s coming from the common people. A group calling itself Broadband for America – who could be against that? – is cranking up an artificial grassroots – astroturf – campaign against net neutrality. But the group’s leadership is not exactly made up of consumer advocates…

Last month, Broadband for America wrote a letter to the FCC bluntly demanding that the agency ‘categorically reject’ any effort toward designating broadband as a public utility.


Don't start the muni broadband party until FCC chair Wheeler puts it in writing

Given FCC chairman Tom Wheeler’s tap dancing on net neutrality regulations and his long pedigree as a lobbyist for cable and mobile interests, there’s good reason to carefully parse anything he says. Including what seemed to be pro-muni broadband remarks made last week at the National Cable & Telecommunications Association’s annual show in Los Angeles…

For many parts of the communications sector, there hasn’t been as much competition as consumers and innovation deserve. Given the high fixed costs and consequent scale economies, this isn’t especially surprising.


Cable lobby blocking competition from broadband subsidies in federal farm bill

5 June 2013 by Steve Blum
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Don’t you dare overbuild modern telecoms systems.

Federal broadband subsidies for rural areas are up for a vote in the U.S. Senate on Thursday, and cable lobbyists are pressing hard for restrictions on construction funding. Broadband is but one tiny piece of a huge, five year farm program that costs nearly a trillion dollars and includes everything from crop insurance to food stamps.

The bill has been stalled in the senate for some time. Given the rules there, it needs 60 out of 100 votes to move forward.… More