Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Telcos Are Calling You

A fellow blogger at p2p blog just forwarded this tidbit on the latest telco-fueled effort to scare Americans into siding with AT&T against Net Neutrality. Be on the alert for friendly callers bearing lies about increased consumer costs.

Here’s what “k0″ had to report about this latest telco effort to deceive customers:

I just got a phone call by a nice lady that tried to persuade me that net neutrality is bad. Because there is an internet price increase coming really really soon, and Google wants me to pay for it.

The dialog went something like this:

(obligatory awkward call center pause)

Her: “Hello, I’m calling from a non profit organization called TV 4 US, and we call consumers about an upcoming internet price hike. The big internet companies, like, (small pause) Microsoft want you to pay for that. Do you think that is fair?”

Me, confused: “Uhm, what are you calling about?”

Her: “The internet is going to be more expensive, because big companies like Microsoft and Google are wasting all our bandwidth. Do you think consumers should pay for that? Or should the big companies that are wasting the bandwidth pay for that?”

At which point I tried to argue that companies use bandwidth because consumers use their services, but of course she was trained to end her call as soon as she would hit a road block.

I managed to get a little bit of information about her non profit before she hung up tho: TV 4 US apparently doesn’t have a website. Maybe they want to save some of that precious bandwidth before Google and Microsoft are gonna waste it all. But they can be reached at 888-346-1400. Just in case you want to tell them what you think about dumbing down policy issues.

Indeed, “TV 4 US” (they do have a Web site) is yet another AT&T-backed front group that is burning through telco cash to spread the lie that Net Neutrality will cost consumers.

What’s really costing consumers isn’t Net Neutrality but the phone companies’ multi-million-dollar campaign to kill it. Companies like AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth have spent tens of millions of dollars on canned phone calls, advertisements, DC lobbyists and phony front groups to squash our genuine grassroots effort.

Where do you think they get that money? That’s right. A portion of your phone bill goes towards creating campaigns that are designed to deceive consumers into acting against their best interests.

For more on the telco fictions, check out this newly released report from Free Press, Consumer Union and the Consumer Federation of America.

No comments: