Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Verizon Lies = Media Truths

Verizon has seeded the media with their own "covert propaganda." This time it takes the form of memos quietly forwarded by Verizon's external communications department to trade journalists and congressional offices.

More Hot Air
It's unclear whether the content of these memos originated within Verizon's communications department or at the many coin-opertated think tanks that receive money from Verizon and other telco giants to produce dubious "research." This list includes the Cato Institute, New Millennium Research Council (NMRC), and Progress and Freedom Foundation.

What's clear is that Verizon hopes that spreading lies about municipal broadband will turn media and politicians against citizens-powered efforts to provide access at a price more Americans can afford. Verizon is building an argument out of hot air. Sadly, it's enough to float many in the media.

Check out the memo within Free Press' report: "Telco Lies and the Truth about Municipal Broadband Networks."

Here are a couple of gems from the report:
Verizon Hot Air: "Glasgow, Kentucky’s city-owned cable system would require a subsidy of $716 per residential household to cover its pattern of losses."

Free Press Fact: Glasgow’s municipal system has enjoyed positive cash flows for the last several years, offering low-cost, high quality service that has saved local residents over $30 million.

Verizon Hot Air: "The Cedar Falls, Iowa venture had a negative free cash flow for each year of operation, even before starting to pay back its $8.3 million in debt."

Free Press Fact: Cedar Falls began posting positive cash flows in 1998 and positive net income in 2003. The network has attracted new business and over $100 million in new construction to the town.

Many in the media (yes, this means you David Harsanyi and James Dao) are gobbling up this and other forms of "anti-muni" propaganda shoveled forth by the industry and their sock puppets within the Cato Institute and the NMRC.

Ben Scott, Policy Director at Free Press puts it this way: "The industry lobbies and their affiliated think tanks have been peddling misinformation for too long. . . This report offers the unvarnished truth and exposes the Orwellian propaganda that labels success as failure."

It's the latest from a powerful collective of monopolistic telecoms and ISPs who seek complete control of broadband access nationwide. Their enemies are those of us who believe Americans should have a choice.

Honk if you care:

Verizon External Communications
1300 I (Eye) Street
Washington, D.C. 20005
Tel. 202-515-2515


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