Fiber Kung-Fu in the Bayou
When Comcast and SBC wanted to convince three Illinois cities to vote against running their own fiber, they conducted "push polls"
designed to shape voter perception, not gauge it. This, combined with more than a quarter million dollars in often misleading local marketing, helped "educate"
voters that they should stay out of the broadband business. That public relations victory was a model for a battle that's now brewing in Lafayette, Louisiana.
The Illinois surveys
, which we were the only outlet to get a copy of, contained questions like "Should tax money be allowed to provide pornographic movies for residents?"
As explored by Mother Jones
recently, they played an integral part in defeating the initiative twice (See our interview
with local leader Ed Hodges).
It later turned out that SBC spent $192,324 on defeating the ballot measure, while Comcast spent $89,740. Fiber for our Future, the community group pushing the initiative, spent $4,325. Not months after the first vote failed, the Illinois area in question saw Comcast rate hikes as high as 33% in some neighborhoods.
Now the city of Lafayette, Louisiana is preparing to vote on a non-tax (revenue bonds) based fiber network. Cox and Bellsouth, as recently explored by USAToday
, have been fighting this plan tooth and nail.
Their efforts have included not-so-veiled threats
(the Independent) that BellSouth could pull a local wireless call-center (1,300 local employees) if the plan moved forward. They've also trotted out not-so-independent policy groups like the Heartland Institute (also a big player in killing the Illinois project) to try and convince locals
that the enterprise is akin to capitalistic cancer.
Heartland's warning comes despite the fact the Lafayette Chamber of Commerce, some 2,400 businesses strong (ironically including Cox
), studied the local impact of the plan for a year and came out in favor of it
After considerable legal wrangling, BellSouth and Cox managed to get the fiber plan put to a vote. There's no great love of Democratic process here; the providers wisely know that they can easily win in public relations politics, usually by outmanning and outfunding their opponents.
As the incumbent PR campaign ramps up in Lafayette ahead of the July vote, push polls have again emerged as a tactic of choice. According to the Advocate
, locals are amazed at some of the questions being asked.
One local Louisiana television channel quotes several local residents
, one of whom claims they were told by a pollster:"if the government controls the cable TV, you may not be able to watch TV except on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday 'cause they could ration your TV watching."
Lafayette's fiber plan goes to a vote on July 16. The Lafayette Chamber of Commerce research into the plan is available here
for those interested. Arguments for the project can be found at the Lafayette Pro-Fiber website
. Arguments against the project can be found at the Fiber411 website
sbc have a nice day you bunch of c*ck suckers! "Should tax money be allowed to provide pornographic movies for residents?" .......
id like to give a more mature response to this article but after reading questions like the one above all i can say is that in my mind SBC (seeking billions constantly),is a notch below a lying, crack addicted hooker that steals from her friends and family to support her habit, and at the same time keeps f'ing even though she knows she has AIDS.
Re: Still waiting for Yet be sure than if Jeff Gannon of Talon News wrote someting about how Muni-broadband caused premature aging, anti-muni folks would consider it a fair and balanced portrayal of the issue. Facts (like the chamber of commerce support) be damned.
Re: Who Profits?
said by runlevelfour:Cisco, Intel, AMD, Juniper and Motorola probably profit more from Internet services than the cablecos and telcos. They also benefit regardless of who puts up the infrastructure - munis or businesses. Corning usually benefits from fiber installations. They are one of the top suppliers of fiber.
People would be much better off in life if they followed the "Who Profits" line of thinking.
Politcal Bones to pick You bet your ass they do,Just liek dish network blocks comcast ads so does direct tv. DOES THAT SOUND AMERICAN, THEM BLOCKING MEDIA? Charter blurs out porn videos on cinemax is that american? An electoral vote, is that democratic, NO BUT WE STILL DO IT ANYWAY! I say let the people vote on big issues liek tAx Reform, and Telecom laws, and not these assholes who liek campaign funding. It not gonan happen, just like why do republican keep on cutting taxes and fuckign up the country, and Democrats giving outragous taxes? Why not put taxes at a resonable rate and keep em there.
All that political rambling was because I was proving my point, nothign is gonna change in politics, Nothing. Why, we have morons running the nation, we need an imbetween party, Not republicans who beleive in tax cut and putting the country in debt, And not democrats who hug trees and have no definate beleif. The democrats are the party with no ideals, The republicans are the party with bad ideals. INBETWEEN PARTY, !Commonsense '08! The answer to fixing america is the people, foreign policy, except France(they can rot in hell), deployment of broadband, Broadband is the future, STO DEPENDING ON ARAB OIL, Jesus we have an Alaskan pipe line, we can drill up there, FUCK THE POLARBEARS. Canada has oil up north quite abit fo it. So does Russia. We can speak out to Opec and tell em where to shove it, theres oil elsewhere(or we could just use "UNCLE SAM'S PESUASION TOYS". America has an image problem we need to fix public school, stop gang violence. HELL, I have an idea, We send Military polics and a few Marien units to "Da Hood", teach them a god damn lesson. As for the obesity epedemic, Its the god damn parents fault stop blaming it on TV, and the fucking cookie monster, Heres what you do if your kids fat, Make S/He go outside, Make them work out JUST GET THEM OFF THEIR FATASSES! Americas HIV Epidemic can be stopped easily, Give the leaders of the top phamarcy corperations HIV/AIDS, we'd find a cure in a week, same thing with cancer and other diseases. also beleive there should be a smack button on your phone, so if Tech support is being retarded or just plane rude, like Veruseless's a hand comes out and smacks em. COMMON SENSE '08! IM OUT!