How Connected Nation can protect incumbent phone companies from change...
Many ISPs fail to expand broadband to all of their potential customers, which is sometimes understandable given the expense. However, we've documented countless times
how those same ISPs often then lobby to have laws passed or engage in sleazy activities
to prevent those towns and cities -- or anyone else -- from wiring those un-served regions. ISPs get their cake and eat it too -- saving money on expansion, while avoiding a future competitor should the local incumbent someday change their mind and decide to service that market. It shouldn't work that way -- but it does, and all too often.
The latest version of this all-too-familiar story is occurring in North Carolina, where freshly created CenturyLink (formerly Embarq and CenturyTel) is trying to prevent a local-Roxboro-based ISP named Electronic Solutions Inc. (ESI) from getting federal broadband funding to expand wireless broadband in the state. According to Stop The Cap
, ESI President Randy King says CenturyLink is pretending to serve these markets -- just to prevent anybody else from doing so:
"We are extremely disappointed that CenturyLink has opposed the Person County project. The project would provide high speed Internet (broadband) in areas that currently do not have service in our county. CenturyLink as recently as April 2009 met with county officials and members of the public and stated that they did not intend to expand DSL in low density areas which do not make economical sense. We are now aware that CenturyLink is not only not going to serve these areas but is attempting to block anyone else from serving these areas."
Of course the broadband mapping data CenturyLink is using to artificially inflate their network footprint comes from none other than Connected Nation, a freshly taxpayer-funded
mapping group under fire for being little more than a phone company dog and pony show and lobbying vehicle. Connected Nation's overly-optimistic maps can show that no improvements are necessary locally, protecting the local phone incumbent's turf -- while sticking it to unserved users. The ultimate irony being that this is all funded by the taxpayer. Are we starting to understand how this works yet?