So who’s behind all the political bills trying to K-O the muni-broadband networks? How about Incumbent phone and cable companies who have long stuffed the coffers of politicians are calling in their markers? Take Representative Phil King, who wants to ban free wireless networks in Texas, as an example. He has authored a major telecom bill which basically would make it well nigh impossible for municipalities to offer wireless internet access. He has received contributions from those with vested interests. I had posted similar information about other politicians from other states as well. (I am waiting for all the archives to come back online!). FCC commish Michael Copps says he in favor of munis deciding their own broadband destiny. Still FCC and the US government needs to step in and take a stand on the whole muni-broadband issue.
* ORIGINAL QUOTE from Charles H. Ferguson, The Brookings Institute “…when you look at the telephone companies, what is their true core competence? Their true core competence is lobbying. They’re really good at it. They spend much more on it every year than they do on R&D. That is literally true.”
“I’ve been trying to make estimates of how much the ILECs spend per year on lobbying in all forums, and it’s very hard to tell, but a reasonable guess is somewhere around $300 to $400 million per year. Very serious money. That’s composed of paying lobbyists, it’s composed of their Washington, DC government affairs offices, it’s composed of their political contributions, it’s composed of the many eminent academic experts they hire to write testimony and regulatory pleadings for them and academic papers on behalf of their cause. It’s composed of all the people they have in state government, in state capitols doing the same kind of regulatory lobbying. It’s composed of lawyers they pay to file lawsuits against the FCC and the government and so forth.”
* CONSUMERS ARE OUTNUMBERED 400:1 in lobbying power from a telecom industry that spent $13.5M in Texas Lobbyists during the last session and will spend more this time. SBC’s share was $7.2M.
Austin’s top lobbyist is W. JAMES JONAS, a San Antonio lawyer who makes $1.35M-1.92M per year representing SBC.