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Special Report — Who’s Who of Broadband for America: Telecom Industry Connections Exposed

Phillip Dampier October 2, 2009 Astroturf, Data Caps, Net Neutrality, Public Policy & Gov't, Recent Headlines 3 Comments

Be Sure to Read Part One: Astroturf Overload — Broadband for America = One Giant Industry Front Group for an important introduction to what this super-sized industry front group is all about.

Members of Broadband for America

Red: A company or group actively engaging in anti-consumer lobbying, opposes Net Neutrality, supports Internet Overcharging, belongs to an astroturf group, or is an astroturf group itself.
Blue: An equipment supplier whose bread is buttered by the telecommunications industry, but doesn’t go out of their way to actively engage in anti-consumer activities.
Purple: A telecommunications company providing broadband service.
Black: A group or organization about which there is insufficient evidence to connect them to a specific astroturfer, lobbying firm, telecommunications provider, or other aligned special interest.  That doesn’t mean there aren’t ties yet to be uncovered.  Considering the overwhelming majority of BfA members have a vested interest towards the broadband industry, you can draw your own conclusions.

Actiontec Electronics, Inc. — Actiontec is an equipment provider selling high speed Internet modems and routers. Their customers include Verizon, Qwest, TDS, MTS and hundreds of smaller carriers throughout North America. More importantly, it is a member of the notorious anti-regulatory, anti-Net Neutrality “Hands Off the Internet” group run for and by the telecommunications industry. Actiontec is also a member of TV4Us, a group Common Cause called the very definition of Astroturf. It advocates for franchising reform (taking away local government oversight) and hates Net Neutrality. Actiontec took even more action by signing a letter by Netcompetition opposing Net Neutrality.

ADC Telecommunications, Inc. — ADC sells broadband network infrastructure products and services that enable the profitable delivery of high-speed Internet, video, data, and voice services to residential, business and mobile subscribers. Among their clients: AT&T, British Telecom, Comcast, Sprint Nextel, Qwest, T-Mobile, and Verizon. They are also listed as a member of “Hands Off the Internet” and signed a letter by Netcompetition opposing Net Neutrality.

Advanced Digital Broadcast — ADB provides digital set-top boxes for including cable, IPTV, satellite and terrestrial providers.

Alloptic — Sells central office and customer premise equipment to deploy Fiber-to-the-Business and Fiber-to-the-Home.

American Agri-Women — A national coalition of farm, ranch, and agri-business organizations, AAW’s involvement in telecommunications issues is not prominent on their website. The group’s 2009 position statement has one sentence about telecommunications issues: “AAW supports a full range of ownership of telecommunications infrastructure including entrepreneurs, large corporations, municipalities, and other units of local government.”

American Association of People with Disabilities — AAPD gets major donations from both Verizon and the Verizon Foundation, and put a Verizon VP, Richard T. Ellis – on its board (2005). It participated in multiple Verizon-based campaigns, including part of a group put together by Issue Dynamics, a Washington DC public relations firm, that jointly signed an ex parte letter to the FCC, explaining why the Bell companies should not have to open their fiber-optic networks to competition. (Source: Harvard Nieman)

American Council on Renewable Energy — What do C. Boyden Gray, big industry lobbyist and ex-aide to former President George Herbert Walker Bush, and Amory Lovins, alternative energy guru, agree on? The need for a big-bucks trade association that can “bring renewable energy into the mainstream of America’s economy and lifestyle” and otherwise spread the gospel about solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, biomass, biofuels, waste energy and hydrogen energy systems. (Source: Sourcewatch) Their position on telecommunications and broadband issues is not clear from their website.

Americans for Technology Leadership — Americans for Technology Leadership was founded by Jonathan Zuck in 1999 as a “grassroots” organization for concerned consumers who want less regulation in the technology sector.  It also campaigns on general tech issues such as spam.  It has been frequently described as a Microsoft front group.  ATL’s domain name, techleadership.org, is registered to the Association for Competitive Technology.  The site is hosted by Thomas E. Stock and Thomas J. Synhorst’s LLC, TSE Enterprises.  Synhorst is a founding member of the DCI Group, a Washington DC-based strategic consulting and lobbying firm which has counted Microsoft as a prime client for a number of years. (Source: Sourcewatch)

ARRIS — ARRIS provides broadband technology for the cable industry. ARRIS products help cable operators provide cable TV and telephony, high-speed Internet and data access. The ARRIS product line includes cable modem and wireless broadband products, infrastructure for digital video and IPTV, and a Fixed Mobile solution.

AT&T — Broadband provider

BendBroadband — Broadband provider

BeSafe — BeSafe Technologies uses broadband to provide real time information to emergency first responders, including contact information, aerial photos, video feeds and building plans. It’s interested in advocating emergency preparedness issues that leverage broadband infrastructure as part of the FCC’s National Broadband Plan.

BigBand Networks, Inc. — BigBand Networks provides infrastructure and support for moving, managing, and monetizing video.

BTECH Inc. — A backup battery provider which oddly finds the need to involve itself in a variety of astroturf groups.  In addition to signing a letter by Netcompetition.org opposing Net Neutrality, BTECH also belongs to “Hands Off the Internet” and TV4Us.

Cablevision Systems Corporation — Broadband provider

CBM of America, Inc. — A network solutions provider for IP networks, CBM is also a member of astroturf group “Hands Off the Internet” and signed a letter by Netcompetition.org opposing Net Neutrality.

CenturyLink — Broadband provider

Charles Industries, Ltd. — Provides cable wiring protection and products that help expand DSL service to hard to reach areas. What wasn’t hard to find was their membership in the astroturf group TV4Us.  They also signed a letter by Netcompetition.org opposing Net Neutrality.

Child Safety Task Force — Part of the Robert K. Johnson astroturf machine, including Consumers for Cable Competitive Choice and Consumers Voice. Only involvement in telecommunications comes from “child safety on the Internet” issue.

Cisco — An equipment manufacturer that has ties to several astroturf and public policy groups, including Arts+Labs and is a major advocate of the alarmist “The Internet is full/exaflood/zettabyte era” rhetoric providers use to justify Internet Overcharging schemes, while Cisco’s self-interest is served by selling the equipment to manage the ‘data tsunami.’  They also signed a letter by Netcompetition.org opposing Net Neutrality.

CoAdna Photonics, Inc. — Sells a variety of products to maintain optical networks, and signed a letter by Netcompetition.org opposing Net Neutrality.

Comcast — Broadband provider

CommScope, Inc. — Designs and produces cables for cable broadband and other providers.

Condux International, Inc. — Condux is a manufacturer of aerial and underground cable installation equipment and tools. Also belongs to TV4Us and “Hands Off the Internet” and signed a letter by Netcompetition.org opposing Net Neutrality.

Consumers First — A group that receives corporate contributions from both AT&T and Verizon, Consumers First often turns up belonging to other astroturf groups, including Robert K. Johnson’s now-defunct Consumers for Cable Choice.

Corning Incorporated — A manufacturer of fiber optic cable, among other things. Verizon is a very important customer.  Corning helped launch the Fiber to the Home Council, which pals around with astroturfers and doesn’t like Net Neutrality. Corning keeps more distance between itself and direct anti-consumer astroturf campaigns, but still signed a letter by Netcompetition.org opposing Net Neutrality.

Cox Communications — Broadband provider

CTIA The Wireless Association — The trade association for the wireless industry, includes AT&T and Verizon.

DC-Primary Care Association — A group advocating for health care reform, telemedicine, and affordable care in the District of Columbia. Its primary interest in broadband may be to leverage stimulus money for health-care related broadband applications.

Dominican American National Roundtable — A group that claims to represent the interests of Dominican-Americans, they spend a lot of time involving themselves in telecommunications issues like mergers involving Verizon. That could be because the group receives substantial support from both AT&T and Verizon Wireless. On behalf of Verizon in 2008, DANA wrote the Federal Communications Commission with a dubious argument in favor of the Verizon Wireless-Alltel merger, claiming “Verizon Wireless also has the scale and scope to invest in network facilities in […] areas in which there is a dense Dominican population.” They fell all over themselves praising Verizon: “Verizon Wireless is well known for having one of the largest and most reliable national wireless networks in the country, so Alltel’s customers will benefit from its size, reach and quality [and] customers will benefit from ever-greater choices – in plans and phones – [and] one of the most advanced broadband networks.”

Enhanced Telecommunications Inc. — Enhanced Telecommunications, Inc. was founded in 1992 to provide software for the converging broadband technologies of television, telephone and internet communications. They are also are believers in converging astroturf campaigns, as a member of “Hands Off the Internet” and a co-signer of a letter by Netcompetition.org opposing Net Neutrality.

Fiber to the Home Council — An industry trade group that promotes fiber optics broadband. The FTTH Council was established in July 2001 by Alcatel-Lucent, Corning Incorporated and Optical Solutions. If an issue could lead to more fiber optics deployment, FTTH Council is often involved. Since consumers are often pro-fiber, there are times they do share a common interest in expanding fiber optic broadband. But the Council hates Net Neutrality. Full Frontal Scrutiny also exposed some credibility problems with the Council: “The FTTH Council is comprised of “approximately 800 company member delegates,” most of which represent businesses that provide equipment and/or services related to fiber optic systems. Nonprofit institutions can apply to join the FTTH Council, but their membership must be approved by the Board of Directors. Moreover, nonprofits allowed to join the FTTH Council can not serve on the Board or vote on Council issues.” The group also promotes the “exaflood – Internet is going to get overloaded” scare-mongering, unsurprising since they believe fiber deployment will fix it.

FiberControl — Designs and manufactures fiber based polarization stabilizers, polarization controllers and polarization-state scramblers for fiber optic networks. They will polarize our readers against them as a member of the “Hands Off the Internet” astroturf group and their signature on a letter by Netcompetition.org opposing Net Neutrality.

Global Crossing — A telecommunications service provider.  As a consumer who lived under Global Crossing’s ownership of Frontier Communications, I hope BfA made sure the check cleared before sending them membership stickers.

Hispanic Leadership Fund — A conservative Hispanic political group that generally opposes regulation and government involvement in private business. Mario Lopez, group president, spent most of his summer at tea party rallies criticizing Obama Administration policies. Insufficient information available to know where the money comes from, but this group opposes regulation generally, so Net Neutrality is definitely a thumbs-down with them.

Independent Technologies Inc. — Independent Technologies is a communications technology research and development company. They also independently decided to join forces with both “Hands Off the Internet” and TV4Us astroturfers and signed a letter by Netcompetition.org opposing Net Neutrality.

Independent Telephone and Telecommunications Alliance (ITTA) — An industry trade group of independent mid-size telephone companies. Their members, which usually provide DSL broadband service, include CenturyLink, Comporium Communications, Consolidated Communications, FairPoint Communications, Frontier Communications, Iowa Telecom, Qwest Communications, TDS Telecom, and Windstream Communications. The group actively opposes Net Neutrality and wants a hands-off policy on telecommunications regulations.

International Association for K-12 Online — iNACOL, The International Association for K-12 Online Learning, is a non-profit organization that facilitates collaboration, advocacy, and research to enhance quality K-12 online teaching and learning.

Intertribal Agriculture Council — IAC was founded in 1987 to pursue and promote the conservation, development and use of Native American agricultural resources for the betterment of Native Americans. Oddly, one of the priorities for IAC in 2008 was being a full-throated supporter of the Sirius-XM Radio merger. It also joined forces with the Alliance for Aviation Across America (along with other BfA members including the National Grange of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry and the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association) to oppose a proposal to shift some of airline carriers’ federal tax burden to small-jet operators.

Itaas Inc. — Founded in 1999, itaas is a privately held, Atlanta-based company with experience in digital cable television technology.


"This may be an attempt to trick you." -- The error message received when visiting the apparently defunct jewishenergyproject.org website

Jewish Energy Project — Appears to be defunct or inoperative. Website jewishenergyproject.org launches a prompt to log onto group founder Brian H. Davis’ Gmail account! Davis is an environmental lawyer whose firm uses a “team approach [to] support “harmonizing of business and environment.”

Latinos in Information Science & Technology Association — LISTA claims it is a national organization of Latino professionals and role models from the information science, telecommunications, and technology industry. “By working together and showcasing the talented Latinos in these sectors, the community as a whole could reach higher goals in order to conquer the digital divide. Today, LISTA remains committed to excellence and providing a wide spectrum of resources to members, corporate sponsors, businesses, educational institutions and the community.” Somehow, it accomplishes that by advocating the merger of Sirius and XM Radio and attacking Google’s “search monopoly.” LISTA has a corporate sponsorship program that, among other things, “link LISTA strategic initiatives to the objectives of the corporation.” Now we’re getting somewhere. LISTA’s membership in BfA may strategically link the objectives of these sponsors: AT&T, National Cable and Telecommunications Association, Microsoft, Comcast, Verizon, and RCN Communications.

Livestock Marketing Association — The Livestock Marketing Association is committed to the support and protection of the local livestock auction markets.  Their website says, “auctions are a vital part of the livestock industry, serving producers and assuring a fair, competitive price through the auction method of selling.” The best way to assure that is to join Broadband for America?  Perhaps the livestock have Facebook pages.

LookBothWays – From their website: “LOOKBOTHWAYS, Inc., founded by internationally recognized online safety expert Linda Criddle, provides free consumer education in online safety through their Web site, ilookbothways.com. We are currently building K-12 online safety curriculum which will be available to everybody at no charge, and teach a college course in Internet Safety for Educators through two US universities. LOOKBOTHWAYS also has a software division developing technology solutions for online safety. In addition we consult and train companies, governments, and law enforcement agencies worldwide and are available for speaking engagements on a wide variety of safety topics. Criddle spent 13 years at Microsoft where she was a pioneer in online safety.”   Criddle also heads the “Safe Internet Alliance” which is absolutely infested with astroturf groups and providers, many of them also AfB members: AT&T, US Internet Industry Association, National Black Chamber of Commerce, National Cable & Telecommunications Association, RetireSafe, Stop Child Predators, Verizon, MANA (A National Latina Organization), and Consumers First. Her organization’s name is lent out to Saferdates, which charges a fee to do background and fingerprint checks on you to “verify” your identity to people who might want to date you.  Perhaps Criddle should perform a background check on BfA to know who she’s hanging around with.

MANA (A National Latina Organization) — Formerly the Mexican American National Association, MANA today claims to empower Latina women through leadership development, community service, and advocacy. They are also empowered by support from AT&T and Verizon. MANA’s National Corporate Partnership Council will put your company logo on their home page for a $50,000 contribution (AT&T is the first logo shown). MANA’s Advisory Council has Emilio Gonzalez, Verizon’s director of public policy and strategic alliances on it. Gonzalez also serves on the boards of two other BfA members:  the United States Distance Learning Association and the US Mexico Chamber of Commerce.  Even more impressive, from as astroturfing perspective, is their Vice-Chair, Bridget Gonzales, who used to be “Assistant Vice President for Issue Dynamics, Inc., a public affairs firm in Washington, DC, where she led the firm’s Strategic Alliances Group. “Ms. Gonzales was instrumental in planning and executing public affairs and consumer education campaigns for Fortune 500 clients such as Verizon Communications, BellSouth, SBC Communications, Corning, Novartis, and others. This included preparation of press releases, op-eds, speeches and consumer education materials as well as coordination of issue briefings, congressional advocacy activities, workshops and media relations. Critical to her success was the effective working relationships she established with high profile national organizations such as League of United Latin American Citizens, U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, NAACP, National Grange, Gray Panthers and others.”

Motorola — An equipment manufacturer, among its biggest customers are AT&T, T Mobile, and Verizon.  They signed a letter by Netcompetition.org opposing Net Neutrality.

MRV Communications, Inc. — MRV Communications is a supplier of communications equipment and services to service providers. “Today’s telecommunication networks are evolving to support growing network traffic due to the demand for high-bandwidth applications such as IPTV, streaming video, peer-to-peer networking, and content-rich websites. Service providers are attempting to differentiate their offerings from their competitors and strive to provide many new capabilities. The growth in these applications is driving the need for additional bandwidth capacity in the Internet infrastructure.” They don’t differentiate themselves much in their membership in the usual astroturf groups “Hands Off the Internet” and TV4Us. They also co-signed a letter by Netcompetition.org opposing Net Neutrality.

National Association of Manufacturers — This trade association, which counts AT&T and Verizon among its members has this policy towards telecommunications: “Fostering an environment where manufacturers and consumers alike can obtain the services and content they want, when they want it and regardless of medium, is of primary concern. To achieve this goal, policymakers should remove barriers to entry that prevent broadband providers from offering high-speed information services to homes and businesses, balance the need for regulations against the potential to dampen private industry’s incentive to invest in broadband technology, encourage federal and state regulators to monitor the rollout of broadband services, and adopt a federal framework and to the extent necessary, lightly regulate only to ensure fair, technology-neutral competition for all providers.” They are members of both “Hands Off the Internet” and TV4Us.

National Association of Black Telecommunications Professionals — Appears defunct. The last time the nabtp.org website was updated and captured by Archive.org was on May 13, 2008. Their telephone number has been disconnected. Among their last features was a promotion for a speech by Larry Irving, who himself works for an astroturf group – the Internet Innovation Alliance. Some history on this group and others like it, was written by the National Community NETwork of AT&T.

National Black Chamber of Commerce — This group’s stated purpose: “To economically empower and sustain African American communities through entrepreneurship and capitalistic activity within the United States and via interaction with the Black Diaspora.” Their website hides their membership list, stating: “The National Black Chamber of Commerce does not distribute information about our members to protect their privacy.” Uh huh. We can take a wild guess however, based on their extended reach into the astroturf diaspora with memberships in both “Hands Off the Internet” and TV4Us. Back in December 2007 before the corporate sponsors were removed from the website for ‘their privacy,’ the group noted it had AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon among its members. Here they were towing the telecom industry line in a press release back in May 2007.

National Cable & Telecommunications Association — Everyone’s favorite super-sized trade association and lobbyist for big cable.

National Caucus and Center on Black Aged — “Throughout its 39 years history, the National Caucus and Center on Black Aged, Inc. (NCBA) has worked to eliminate obstacles to fairness and equal access for one of the most underserved and vulnerable groups in our society – low-income black and minority senior citizens. NCBA’s programs have focused on three of the most critical needs: housing, employment and health promotion/disease prevention.” Actually, four needs — the fourth suddenly being broadband. This group has several telecommunications industry connections, as explored in part one of this report.

National Disease Cluster Alliance — A real mystery why this group belongs to BfA. This group is dedicated to identifying and responding to emerging disease cluster/anomalies. Founding member Floyd Sands passed away in May after a lengthy battle with cancer. In August, the group advertised for a new executive director and is engaged in fundraising. The stated purpose of the organization is noble, but their sudden interest in broadband issues as part of an astroturf effort is concerning.

National Grange — “The National Grange is the nation’s oldest national agricultural organization, with grassroots units established in 3,600 local communities in 37 states. Its 300,000 members provide service to agriculture and rural areas on a wide variety of issues, including economic development, education, family endeavors, and legislation designed to assure a strong and viable Rural America.” The organization claims to be particularly interested in rural telecommunications issues.  Coincidentally, it often finds itself getting involved in telecommunications issues that directly impact or involve Verizon. That’s ironic, considering Verizon is abandoning many rural communities altogether and selling them off to Frontier Communications. Over the years, the National Grange has thrown its view in on to Verizon vs. the RIAA, a request for Congress to support industry friendly legislation, a merger between Verizon and NorthPoint Communications, and universal service fund issues that brought them into a coalition with … the corn growers LawMedia Group loves to work with: The Keep USF Fair Coalition was formed in April 2004. Current members include Alliance for Public Technology, Alliance For Retired Americans, American Association Of People With Disabilities, American Corn Growers Association, American Council of the Blind, California Alliance of Retired Americans, Consumer Action, Deafness Research Foundation, Gray Panthers, Latino Issues Forum, League Of United Latin American Citizens, Maryland Consumer Rights Coalition, National Association Of The Deaf, National Consumers League, National Grange, National Hispanic Council on Aging, National Native American Chamber of Commerce, The Seniors Coalition, Utility Consumer Action Network, Virginia Citizen’s Consumer Council and World Institute On Disability. DSL Prime helps define the friendly circle.

National Puerto Rican Coalition, Inc. — NPRC’s mission is to systematically strengthen and enhance the social, political, and economic well-being of Puerto Ricans throughout the United States and in Puerto Rico with a special focus on the most vulnerable. AT&T is a major sponsor of the group. The organization signed a letter in 2006 concerning itself with, of all things, cable television set-top box integration. It took the vulnerable industry position. It supported the Sprint Nextel merger in 2005 with another letter.

NDS Limited — NDS Group Ltd is a private company owned by the Permira Funds and News Corporation. It creates technologies that allow pay-TV operators to generate revenues by securely delivering digital content to TVs, set-top boxes (STBs), digital video recorders (DVRs), PCs, portable media players (PMPs), removable media, and other mobile devices.

Net Literacy — This company’s mission “is to increase computer access by creating public computer labs, teach computer and Internet skills, and educate youth and parents about Internet safety.” “Senior Coalition Partners” include Verizon, Bright House Networks, Comcast, and the US Internet Industry Association.  Net Literacy co-released a report with the USIIA advocating AT&T and other provider views about broadband adoption, including government investment in broadband, and potentially supporting industry-sponsored Internet education and child safety efforts.

NSG America, Inc. — “As creator of the SELFOC Lens, Nippon Sheet Glass (NSG) manufactures and distributes more gradient-index lenses than anyone else in the world. Developed over 25 years ago, the SELFOC Lens has revolutionized the industries of fiber optic communications.” They signed a letter by Netcompetition.org opposing Net Neutrality, and are also members of “Hands Off the Internet” and TV4Us.

Occam Networks, Inc — Occam Networks develops and markets the BLC 6000 multi-service access platform (MSAP), an Ethernet and IP-based loop carrier platform that enables our customers to profitably deliver a variety of traditional and packet voice, broadband and IP services from a single, converged all-packet access network.

OFS Fitel, LLC — OFS manufactures and markets fusion splicers, optical fiber, optical cable, fiber to the home (FTTX), connectivity, optical components, and specialty photonics products and optical components. They are also members of “Hands Off the Internet” and signed a letter by Netcompetition.org opposing Net Neutrality.

On Trac, IncorporatedOn Trac, Inc. is a telecommunications subcontractor that specializes in fiber to the home installations. Municipalities sometimes contract with them to do installations. On Trac is a member of “Hands Off the Internet” and signed a letter by Netcompetition.org opposing Net Neutrality.

PECO II, Inc. — PECO II designs and manufactures DC power systems and provides engineering and support assistance. They also support and assist “Hands Off the Internet” as a member and signed a letter by Netcompetition.org opposing Net Neutrality.

People & Technology — Insufficient information to identify which group or company this represents.

Preformed Line Products, Inc. — Preformed Line Products (PLP) is a worldwide designer, manufacturer and supplier of cable anchoring and control hardware and systems, fiber optic and copper splice closures, and high-speed cross-connect devices.  They signed a letter by Netcompetition.org opposing Net Neutrality.

Prysmian Communications Cables and Systems USA, LLC — A player in the industry of high-technology cables and systems for energy and telecommunications. They are members of both “Hands Off the Internet” and TV4Us and also signed a letter by Netcompetition.org opposing Net Neutrality.

Quanta Services, Inc — Quanta Services is a provider of specialized contracting services, delivering end-to-end network solutions for the electric power, telecommunications, broadband cable and gas pipeline industries.  They signed a letter by Netcompetition.org opposing Net Neutrality.

Qwest — Broadband provider

RetireSafe — “RetireSafe is a grassroots advocacy and educational organization dedicated to preserving the options and protecting the benefits of America’s seniors. RetireSafe believes in a government that keeps its promises, protects our nation, and maintains the safety of its citizens. We believe in free markets, lower taxes, limited regulations, and the virtues of personal freedom and personal responsibility that provides true retirement security for all.” The American Prospect called the group “strange” because it doesn’t identify up front who runs it or pays the bills: “Many of these other groups exist as little more than letterheads and Web sites.”  There are suspicions RetireSafe is run by DCI Group, a Washington DC lobbying firm, on behalf of one of its corporate clients. Oddly, RetireSafe has usually been the domain of big pharmaceutical companies. What they are doing on Americans for Broadband’s member list is a mystery. DCI’s other clients have included AT&T and Microsoft, although there is no certain evidence who is behind the new interest in broadband.

Seachange International — SeaChange International is a provider of software applications, services and integrated solutions for the management and monetization of Video on Demand (VOD), digital advertising, and content acquisition.

Sheyenne Dakota, Inc. — Custom Cable Harness Manufacturing. They also signed a letter by Netcompetition opposing Net Neutrality.

Silver Star Communications — Broadband provider

Sjoberg’s, Inc — Broadband provider

Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council — The Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council (SBE Council) works to educate elected officials, policy makers, business leaders and the public to advance initiatives that enhance the environment for entrepreneurship, business start-up and growth. Member of TV4Us, which TV Technology described: “The roster of Coalition members includes The National Taxpayers Union, the Latino Coalition, the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council, the Women’s Presidents Organization, the Construction Industry Foundation, the Citizenship Foundation–and, oh yes, a dozen telecom manufacturers, the National Association of Manufacturers and AT&T. You can probably guess correctly whose money actually paid for the coalition’s ads.”

SNC Manufacturing Company, Inc. — SNC is a manufacturer and worldwide marketer of transformers, coils, high frequency magnetics and value-added assemblies.  They are a TV4Us member, and although their logo has changed, it appears they also signed a letter by Netcompetition.org opposing Net Neutrality.

Stop Child Predators — If your cat was a member of the Democratic Party, it would hiss the moment the people behind this group entered the room. Cary Katz, Chairman and President – Founder/CEO College Loan Corporation is a major Republican donor. Board member Viet Dinh was on the Board of Directors of Murdoch’s News Corporation, although he’s better known for his key role in producing the USA Patriot Act. One blogger investigating the group complained: “The Stop Child Predators Partnership doesn’t actually seem to do anything.” The group’s focus seems to be on developing stronger legislation for child predator crime prosecutions and sentencing, with suggested legislation for online safety as well. Insufficient information to tell if there is any telecommunications industry money in the group.

Sumitomo Electric Lightwave — A manufacturer of optical fiber and optical cable, cable assemblies, fiber management systems, etc. Member of “Hands Off the Internet,” they also signed a letter by Netcompetition.org opposing Net Neutrality.

Sunrise Telecom Inc — Sunrise develops test and measurement solutions for telecom, cable, and wireless networks that ensure network performance, speed deployment, and reduce the cost of network operations. Sunrise is a member of “Hands Off the Internet” and signed a letter by Netcompetition.org opposing Net Neutrality.

SureWest Communications — Broadband provider

Suttle Apparatus Corporation — Suttle is a manufacturer of communication connectivity products to major service providers and installers.  Suttle was not subtle about their willingness to advocate against consumer interests when they signed a letter by Netcompetition.org opposing Net Neutrality.

Telecommunications Industry Association — “The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) is the leading trade association representing the global information and communications technology (ICT) industries through standards development, government affairs, business opportunities, market intelligence, certification and world-wide environmental regulatory compliance. With support from its 600 members, TIA enhances the business environment for companies involved in telecommunications, broadband, mobile wireless, information technology, networks, cable, satellite, unified communications, emergency communications and the greening of technology.” TIA members are extensive within the broadband industry. Filed comments with the FCC objecting to Net Neutrality in 2008.

Telework Coalition — The Telework Coalition brings together a diverse array of organizations, companies, and individuals with the common interest of promoting awareness and adoption of existing and emerging Telework and Telecommuting applications including telemedicine and distance learning, as well as addressing access to broadband services that may be needed to support these applications.

The Latino Coalition — TLC’s agenda is to develop initiatives and partnerships that will foster economic equivalency and enhance overall business, economic and social development of Latinos. The bottom of the website indicates “TLC Website presented by AT&T.” Both AT&T and Verizon are corporate partners of The Latino Coalition, which also belongs to astroturf group TV4Us. The Latino Coalition likes to involve itself in a lot of cable and broadcasting industry business. More details on this group can be found in part one.

Time Warner Cable — Broadband provider

United States Distance Learning Association — Serves the distance learning community by providing advocacy, information, networking and opportunity. Board member Raymond E. Hartfield works for AT&T. Emilio X. Gonzalez, director of public policy and strategic alliances at Verizon sits on their Advisory Board. He also sits on the board of MANA and the US Mexico Chamber of Commerce, both BfA members. Verizon is a 21st Century Benefactor of USDLA, which could explain why USDLA went out of its way to submit positive comments about the merger proposal between Verizon and NorthPoint Communications. More recently, in June, USDLA submitted comments to the FCC calling for a deregulatory approach to a national broadband plan, and went out of its way to oppose Net Neutrality.

United States Telecom Association — The trade association of broadband service providers, the organization doesn’t hide its opposition to Internet-related regulation. “Today’s calls for greater government intervention are to “fix” a problem that simply does not exist as far as today’s consumer of broadband services is concerned. This unnecessary intervention would slow broadband deployment and the arrival of a wide variety of pro-consumer advances.” They have a history of running astroturf campaigns, such as ‘The Future… Faster‘ which claimed to be a “coalition” that represents both “industry leaders” and “individual Americans.” If they put they period after ‘leaders,’ they would have been correct. Consumers were nowhere to be found. USTA has a history with Issue Dynamics, a DC lobbying firm and astroturf campaign creator.

US Cable Corporation — Broadband provider

US Cattlemen’s Association — The United States Cattlemen’s Association is a membership organization working for the grassroots cattle producer. Another major oddity in the BfA membership, the USCA’s focus on cattle seems to be completely non germane to broadband issues. Jon Wooster, president, wrote a letter to the FCC urging them to approve the merger between Verizon and Alltel: “We believe the merger between Verizon Wireless and Alltel will boost competition in the cell phone industry while bringing broadband and its innovations to all Americans – whether they live in downtown or on the farm. As an established wireless carrier, Verizon Wireless has the breadth and depth to make the significant investment in rural infrastructure that is so desperately needed. It has already poured billions into a new portion of the wireless spectrum just to deliver new high-speed (broadband) service to more Americans.” The group also signed their name to a Connected Nation letter to Congress saying, in part: “We believe Congress should adopt legislation this year that provides federal government support for state initiatives using public-private partnerships to identify gaps in broadband coverage and to develop both the supply of and demand for broadband in those areas.” The letter was also signed by AT&T, Time Warner Cable, Verizon, and a whole host of astroturf groups and industry-affiliated organizations.

US Chamber of Commerce — Their slogan is “fighting for your business.” The nation’s largest industry trade association, they are always, by definition on business’ side.

US Internet Industry Association — The US Internet Industry Association (USIIA) is the North American trade association for Internet commerce, content and connectivity. Most USIIA members are broadband service providers. Works with Issue Dynamics, a Washington, DC public relations firm that engages in astroturf campaigns.

US Mexico Chamber of Commerce — The organization’s mission is to promote business between the United States and Mexico. How that relates to Americans for Broadband is an open question, although Emilio Gonzalez, Director of Public Policy & Strategic Alliances at Verizon who serves on the Board of Directors of this group might provide a possible answer. Gonzalez also serves on the boards of two other BfA members: MANA and the United States Distance Learning Association. Verizon’s logo also appears on the group’s home page. They are one of four listed sponsors.

Verizon — Broadband provider

Vermeer Manufacturing Company — Farm machinery and trenchless and trenching equipment from a construction equipment manufacturer. Also harvested was the fact Vermeer belongs to “Hands Off the Internet” and signed a letter by Netcompetition opposing Net Neutrality.

Windstream Corporation — Broadband provider

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14 years ago

Quite the finds you have here Phil. I’m wondering what these two most recent articles are bound to change if anything. Of course, they could also be troll food/astrofood as well, but it all depends.

14 years ago

Wow Phillip!! That had to take some work! Thank You!

My question is – Do you think our elected officials didn’t already know some of this? Do you really think our elected officials are duped by these groups? While this is news to someone like me I wonder if someone who works in our government on a daily basis and interacts with these groups quite frequently would actually be surprised to learn who is behind them. I really am asking your opinion here rather than making a statement.

Uncle Ken
Uncle Ken
14 years ago

Greg I think there a lot of people in government that do not have a clue what is going on. Here is you chance. Copy and paste the article and send it by mail in paper form to a house or senate member. Dust off that printer. Include a header of your own writing explaining why you are sending this and why you think they should be aware of it. Don’t forget to sign it (a mark of respect) and include your area you live in so they know your part of their coverage area. Email is to easy, make… Read more »

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