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Call to Action: Push Poll Scam – Hang Up on the Pro-Cable/Telco Poll Calls in North Carolina!

Phillip Dampier April 28, 2009 Community Networks, Public Policy & Gov't 2 Comments
North Carolina residents get pro-industry "push poll" calls.

North Carolina residents get pro-industry "push poll" calls.

Silly rabbit, tricks are for kids.  A certain company or group of companies is apparently spending some of the money that could be spent on better things (DOCSIS upgrades?) to run a disingenuous “push polling” scam on the residents of Wilson, North Carolina.  A “push poll” incorporates propaganda or misinformation in an attempt to influence or alter the view of respondents under the guise of conducting a poll.  People receiving calls are given misleading suppositions and then polled on how they feel about them.

Our friends at Save NC Broadband report calls going out that include questions that cannot possibly be answered without siding with commercial providers.  I can only guess a few samples:

“Do you believe that your hard earned tax dollars should be used to pay for a socialist broadband Internet scheme that is designed to kill jobs in your community and destroy a tax-paying, capitalist company?”  Answer “yes if you hate America” or “no if you are not a traitor to the American dream.”

“If you knew that a local town or city was run by anti-American forces in league with communists that wanted to use government funding to control your Internet connection, would you be in favor of this government controlled network that might spy on you or are you opposed?”  Answer “in favor of a Communist takeover” or “as an upstanding American, I would have to be opposed.”

You get the idea, even if I over sprinkled some hyperbole on top for added flavor.  Alright, I poured it on….

If you live in Wilson or Salibury, you may be getting a call.  Tell the pollster you realize they’re working for big cable and telco interests and hang up the phone.

Later this week, the folks in league with the push polling firm hired to pull this scam will no doubt use some of the results in their effort to convince North Carolina legislators that there is no need for municipal broadband.

Don’t be a sucker for big cable and telco broadband that is terrified of competition.  Keep on your elected officials and tell them to oppose HB 1252, and make sure you call or write today because the bill comes before the Public Utilities Committee on Wednesday.

Also this week, we’re hearing from our readers who are starting to get replies from their elected officials.  StoptheCap! reader Shawn shares a particularly arrogant reply he got from Big Cable’s BFF, Rep. Ty Harrell, who helped introduce this horror show:

Thanks for your email. I appreciate hearing from you. I am to assume that you have read the bill, correct? Based on that assumption, you do realize that Wilson, and all of the other municipalities that have been reported on, have been exempted from the bill, correct?

Further still, you do realize that the bill does NOT prohibit any municipality from offering broadband services or any kind, correct?

Again, thank you for your email.

Warmest wishes,

Ty Rep. Ty Harrell NC State House, District 41 16 W. Jones Street Room 2121 Raleigh, NC 27601-1096 919.733.5602 [email protected]

Here is my suggested reply:

Thanks for your reply to my recent letter asking you to reconsider support for HB 1252.  I appreciated hearing from you, too.  I am to assume that you have fully contemplated the impact of your proposed bill, correct?  Based on that assumption, you do realize that I have a lot of questions about how much you and your staff know when I learned that a Time Warner staff member and an attorney who represents the industry had to answer questions on your behalf posed in last week’s session in the Science & Technology Committee, correct?

Further still, you do realize that this pro-industry legislation, while not outright banning municipal broadband, turns the mechanics of building and running one into an Olympic event of Herculean proportions, which basically amounts to the same result — prohibiting them, correct?

And lastly, you do realize that if you should see fit to continue pushing this anti-consumer legislation, there is absolutely no chance whatsoever that you will have my vote, or those of my friends who agree with me, come the next election.

I urge you to reconsider your position on this important legislation and perhaps shelve or withdraw it until its fullest implications can be explored and weighed.

Again, thank you for your reply.

Warmest wishes,

An actual consumer who is unlikely to get a check from a telecom lobbyist in the near future.

(Leave off that last line and replace it with your own signature, of course.)

Get Busy North Carolina!

A sample letter is available to use as the basis for your own personal e-mail or call.  You can use this resource to find your own representative/senator by clicking on House/Senate from the menu bar at the top. Here is the e-mail contact list for North Carolina representatives:

[email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], Wil.N[email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]

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Meredith P
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Meredith P

I had a nice (personal?) reply from one of my area legislators who felt that this bill would probably fail as way too controversial. Would go to a “study” instead. I appreciate any of my legislators replying, regardless of their opinion.

Katieb
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Katieb

BTW, This bill does not exempt existing providers. The exemption is for all services “authorized by March 1, 2009.” If Wilson or Salisbury offered any “new” service (say, a repackaging of old services or a new BBND service); they fall victim to Ty Harrell’s bill and become easy targets for Time Warner Cable lawsuits.

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