|Cleland: For Net Neutrality Until He Was Against It|
These accusations come from individuals who are on the phone and cable company payroll with the explicit intention to undermine the concept of Net Neutrality and smear its supporters.
It's unfortunate that a payola pundit like Cleland routinely fails to come clean and disclose his considerable conflicts of interest -- or to adequately explain why statements he made while on the telco dole directly contradict statements he made prior to receiving money from AT&T.
>> Here's a prominent example of Cleland's shilling without disclosure.
This comes from a man who repeatedly claims to seek an "open debate" on Net Neutrality while selectively ignoring the mounting evidence in support of an open Internet.
Using a variety of methods, the phone and cable lobby will continue to paint issues like Net Neutrality as “unnecessary government regulations” and anti-consumer (turning a blind eye to the fact that all the major U.S. consumer advocacy groups are a part of this Coalition).
They also dismiss the groundswell of public support for this issue as the handiwork of a few “liberal groups.” (ignoring the many conservative and libertarian groups among our rank).
Now, Cleland, McCurry and crew are citing widely discredited FCC data in a feeble attempt to demonstrate that the broadband marketplace is awash with competitors. This is more industry planted propaganda designed to clear a path for the phone and cable duopoly that accounts for more than 98% of all broadband access in the U.S.
They do this as part of their bid to 1) take further control of the market for high-speed Internet access and 2) increase their multi-billion dollar profit margins by erecting new tollbooths to the content that travels over these pipes.
For a clearer picture of the state of broadband competition in the U.S., I recommend you read Broadband Reality Check, InformationWeek's comprehensive survey or David Isenberg's recent blog post on the matter. You can read some of the industry's sponsored reports on this as well -- but understand that their conclusions were drawn well before they conducted one drop of research.
The public tolerance for this type of "Astroturfing" was tested in 2006. More than 75 percent of respondents to a September CBS/New York Time poll thought that most members of Congress “are more interested in serving special interest groups” than “serving the people they represent.”
The Net Neutrality fight isn’t just between corporate Titans like Google and AT&T. It's a battle that pits the special interests of the few (phone and cable companies) against a vast grassroots effort involving Americans from every corner of society.
Please don't ignore the word-of-mouth campaign that has lifted the crucial issue of Net Neutrality from obscurity and thrown a wrench in the phone and cable giants’ plan to overhaul our telecommunications laws behind closed doors.
The debate over Net Neutrality should be a broad, public conversation about what the future of the Internet will look like. Portraying this issue as corporate infighting, overly partisan or heavy handed regulation appeases the phone companies. But this debate is about so much more.