ATT Accused of Anti Net-Neutrality Lobbying

October 20, 2009 by
Filed under: DAILY Dose of PC News 

A damaging report claims that a high level executive at AT&T (Jim Cicconi) wrote a letter to employees asking them to “email opposing views to net neutrality rules being considered by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission on an FCC Web site using their personal e-mail addresses, prompting accusations of unfair advocacy by an opposing group.”

Wikipedia defines net neutrality as “a principle proposed for residential broadband networks and potentially for all networks. A neutral broadband network is one that is free of restrictions on content, sites, or platforms, on the kinds of equipment that may be attached, and on the modes of communication allowed, as well as one where communication is not unreasonably degraded by other communication streams.” Thus, why AT&T has an intense interest in this on-going debate as it could hinder their company’s ability to control bandwidth. Other ISPs also oppose this law (ComCast) due to this legislation banning ISPs from throttling (slowing down subscribers’ broadband for P2P reasons, etc).

The most damning part of PC World’s report states the execuvite sent the memo to employees asking them to email OpenInternet.gov and use personal email addresses to give their opposing views of net neutrality legislation so it wouldn’t seem this was coming from AT&T. “The letter gives five talking points that AT&T employees can use to argue against net neutrality in the days leading up to Thursday’s FCC meeting, in which the agency is expected to take the first steps toward developing formal net neutrality rules,” stated PC World.

Most unbiased analysts believe these “talking points” are ways of creating “fake grassroot campaigns” with misinformation. Tim Karr, campaign director for Free Press, stated “the letter is asking AT&T workers to be ‘sort of deceptive. He’s asking them to regurgitate talking points that are at best debatable.’

AT&T’s spokesperson said they’ve done nothing wrong and dismissed Free Press’ complaints by stating that people who are on the side of net neutrality do the exact same thing by asking people to email the government in favor of their views.

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