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Content tagged with "misinformation"Displaying 71 - 80 of 87
Frontier Forces FUD on Cities in Sibley: Sibley Responds
The fiber-to-the-farm initiative in Sibley County, Minnesota, has completed the feasibility study and the towns involved are discussing a Joint Powers Agreement. One of the impacted incumbent providers -- Frontier Communications, a rural telco famous for slow DSL) -- has started to spread the usual FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) that is common whenever a massive company is about to face competition.
Though I am tempted to comment directly on Frontier's letter, I'll let the community's response stand on its own. The way they misrepresent the record of Windom should be instructive - this same misinformation strategy is used around the country. We believe publishing these scare tactics and responses to them is helpful to everyone -- so if your project has received one, please let us know.
As a provider of telephone, internet, and video services to our customers in the Green Isle, Arlington, and Henderson areas, Frontier Communications is obviously interested in the "fiber to the home" proposal that has been presented. As a nationwide provider, Frontier is aware of other efforts by municipalities of various types to build and operate their own telecommunications network. While these proposals are always painted in rosy tones, it is important for officials to carefully review the underlying assumptions and projections that consultants make when presenting these projects. Unfortunately, history tells us that the actual performance of most of these projects is significantly less positive than the promises. Often times, these projects end up costing municipalities huge amounts of money, and negatively impact their financial status and credit ratings.
A nearby example would be WindomNet, the city-owned network in Windom, Minnesota. That network, which provides telephone, internet, and video service, began in 2005. The financial results to date have been poor; operating losses of $662,000 in 2006, $1,257,000 in 2007, $326,000 in 2008, and $93,000 in 2009. Additional borrowing by the city was required to make up those losses.
I thought you said you had Internet...
Salisbury's Fibrant Deals with Incumbent B.S. Before Launch
"We always work with customers to meet their needs and budget."The cable company, right? Well, that is Time Warner Cable's claim in the above Salisbury Post article. Later in the article, a local business owner expressed a different sentiment: "Time Warner has the worst customer service I have ever dealt with." The business owner goes on:
“Fibrant may have these same kind of issues, however I can actually go to the source to deal personally with someone who is vested in the community, not spend two hours on the phone and never solve the problem as I do with TWC,” he said. “Even if pricing is higher, I would make the change.
Opelika Votes Yes, Will Build Smart-Grid Fiber Network
It’s a great day for Opelika. It’s a great day for our future. It’s a terrible day for Charter,”One gets the sense that the Mayor took some umbrage at Charter's tactics to prevent the community from building its own network. The day before the election, Stop the Cap! ran a fantastic article about Charter's manufactured opposition to the community network. Phillip Dampier investigated the background and claims of prominent opponents, including Jack Mazzola, who might as well have written some of the articles in the local paper about the Smart-Grid project for how often he was quoted by the reporter (who often failed to offer a countering view from anyone in support of the network).
Jack Mazzola claims to be a member of Concerned Citizens of Opelika and has become a de facto spokesman in the local press. He claims he is “30 years old and have been a resident of Opelika for almost two years.” During that time, he evidently forgot to update his active Facebook page, which lists his current city of residence as Atlanta, Georgia. Suspicious readers of the local newspaper did some research of their own and claim Mr. Mazzola has no history of real estate or motor vehicle taxes paid to Lee County, which includes Opelika.Any community considering a referendum on this issue should read this Stop the Cap! post and learn from it because massive cable companies like Charter all use the same tactics in community after community.
UTOPIA Confronts Critics, Continues New Strategy
The Utah “Taxpayers” Association thought it would get an upper hand with a BBQ in Orem just before the city council voted on a new construction bond.
In North Carolina, Wilson Sets the Record Straight
Other conflicts can arise as well. For example, in 2007, when Wilson was developing its Greenlight service, the town tripled its rate for using municipal utility poles from $5 to $15 a year. That raised the pole fee for Time Warner Cable from $82,000 to $246,000 a year, but Time Warner is still paying the old rate while it negotiates with town officials over the issue. Before 2007, Wilson’s pole fee had stayed the same since 1975. The attachment fee increase was not related to Greenlight. The old fee schedule was outdated. By comparison, the cable company’s standard rates have doubled since 1997. “When the regulator becomes your competitor, it’s not a good situation,” said Marcus Trathen, a lawyer for the cable lobby. Wilson and other cities regulate only the pole attachments. The cable and telecom companies are regulated by the State of NC. The local regulation of cable services ended in 2007 after intense lobbying from the cable/telecom companies.The main issue is to make sure false claims are corrected at every opportunity. These networks and local policies around pole attachments are greek to most people. Any false claim without a response (and some that are responded to) will be believed by many in the community.
Fiber Down Under: Australia Plans Publicly Owned Open Access Network
But it's clear that the new network won't be held hostage to Telstra's demands. The consultants conclude that, in the absence of an agreement, [the fiber network] should proceed to build both its access network and its backhaul unilaterally." [src: Ars Technica]Between the original plan and a revised plan suggested by the referenced study (bullet points here), over 90% of Australians will have a real choice in providers over a FTTH connection whereas the rest will have a combination of wireless and satellite options. The prices are expected to be affordable, and will probably be well below what we pay here in America. The Implementation Study has some words about ownership of the National Broadband Network (NBN):
Government should retain full ownership of the NBN until the roll out is complete to ensure that its policy objectives are met – including its competition objectivesOn technology, they reiterate what we have been saying for years:
Fibre to the premise is widely accepted as the optimal future proof technology with wireless broadband a complementary rather than a substitute technology;Have no fear though, we will undoubtedly hear from many apologists for the private telecom companies that Australiai's NBN has "failed" because it is losing money. Estimates on the break even are many years out:
BN Co can build a strong and financially viable business case with the Study estimating it will be earnings positive by year six and able to pay significant distributions on its equity following completion of the rollout;Brace yourself for a slew of reports noting the operating losses in the early years as "proof" the government should never have built this broadband infrastructure.
Lafayette and a Level Playing Field
The FCC National Broadband Plan, on page 153, includes Louisiana as one of 18 states that “have [no-glossary]passed[/no-glossary] laws to restrict or explicitly prohibit municipalities from offering broadband services.” While the Louisiana law did not prohibit Lafayette from providing broadband services, its mere presence provided, and continues to provide, a fertile playground for BellSouth (and its successor AT&T), Cox and their allies to create mischief, resulting in discouraging local governments from stepping in to provide these services even when the private telecom companies refuse to do so.Louisiana, as with many other states including North Carolina, has powerful incumbents that claim there is an "unlevel playing field" and that local governments have too many advantages in building broadband networks (incomprehensibly, they simultaneously claim that local governments are incompetent and publicly owned networks always fail).
Longmont, Colorado, Considers Broadband Options
Those against the measure point to failed municipal-run telecommunication efforts as another reason not to support this measure. That’s fairly compelling, especially when we have no specifics about what type of telecommunications projects the city will pursue.Those against the measure claim that municipal-run telecommunications efforts have failed. They often point at successful community networks (or even failed privately owned networks, oddly enough), call them failures, and rightly assume that no one will fact-check the assertions. Often, they will gin up some false numbers that suggest a far-off network has lost a lot of money (using their same methodology, it would be crazy for anyone to borrow to buy a house). Regarding the concern over what specific project the city will pursue if authorized, this is an interesting catch-22 because it makes little sense to expend a lot of money on a business plan before a community has the authority to build something. Either decision is difficult and requires a trust in the local leadership and democratic process. Comments to that editorial rightly note that Comcast and Qwest will not prioritize investments in Longmont until they see competition. The private sector has failed to generate competition on its own, so the community is smart to consider spurring competition themselves.
More Astroturfing Shenanigans
This claim that their membership list is stocked with "consumer groups" turns out to be as bogus as their stated goals, given there's not a single viable consumer advocacy firm among the group's 100 members. BfA [Broadband for America] does, however, include dozens of "co-opted" minority, disability and other industry-funded groups. Said groups are used by lobbyists to pretend the interests and opinions presented to lawmakers have broad public support, and aren't just the monotonal whining of a handful of corporations interested solely in protecting revenues. For example, a group that needs funding for a new events center will agree to parrot Verizon policy positions in public press releases. The National Association of the Deaf [NAD] did as much for the baby bells when Verizon and AT&T were trying to eviscerate existing TV laws, even though the law the group was busy cheerfully supporting resulted in cherry-picked next-generation broadband deployment for NAD's constituents.Photo used under Creative Commons license - thanks to flickr's limonada.