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Big US ISPs Roll Out Push Polling to Stop Cheap Internet

Big US ISPs Roll Out Push Polling to Stop Cheap Internet

There’s been some dramatic developments in the Greenlight project happening in North Carolina. Essentially, the big US ISPs are doing everything in their power including lobbying the state to make it illegal to set up a superior ISP in the area. Now, reports are coming in that say that the big US ISPs are using push polling over the phones to get customers to side with legislation that would kill faster and cheaper broadband.

It’s a staple in every conspiracy theory against a mega corporation. A mega company that has overwhelming power in a set market place locking away any kind of innovation that would pose a threat to its business model. Right now, it’s happening with high speed internet.

For those that have missed this controversy, Daily Tech has a very nice round-up of the big controversy surrounding government initiated broadband. In a nutshell, a city in North Carolina got tired of slow internet for prices that have gone through the roof and getting even more expensive. So, the city took matters in their own hands and rolled out fibre optic cables throughout the city.

The service, currently named Greenlight Inc., approached the Time Warner Cable and Embarq, proposing they use the infrastructure for a more reliable and faster internet connection for a cheaper price. The big cable companies refused, so the government was left with all this infrastructure with no support from the big telecom companies. After doing some research, the government found out that the service would be extremely cheap to run and would give the government huge profits. So, they decided to run Greenlight Inc. themselves.

Unfortunately for Greenlight Inc., Embarq and Time Warner Cable found out about this and realized that they would be competing against an ISP that was faster, more reliable and cheaper. So, the ISPs went to the North Carolina state senate and lobbied for legislation that would effectively either cripple or ban the service all together.

Recently legislation was tabled in the state government. Senate bill 1004 and House Bill 1252 which are both dubbed “Level the playing field”. Unsurprisingly, the city is reacting to try and stop the legislation. Among other things, they started their own blog to raise awareness of the issue.

Now, it seems that there is a report on there that says that the big ISPs are using push polling to gain support of H1252 in the city.

“Phones are ringing in Wilson. There’s a new poll about HB 1252 that is apparently designed with leading questions about municipal broadband.” Writes Brian, the writer of the blog. He continues, “It includes questions that, as a friend put it, can’t possibly be answered correctly without siding with certain cable and or telco providers.”

Further from the blog posting:

I’m guessing a couple of the industry execs will use it this week to convince lawmakers that Wilson citizens don’t need their system.

The same poll, or a similar one, has also popped up in Salibury. This weekend, several people there reported getting phone polls that led them to the same conclusion about their new network. Salisbury is network now that is similar to Wilson’s.

One poll. Two cities. One intended result.

It seems that ISPs are working around the clock to maintain the status quo – and their monopolies.

Drew Wilson
Drew Wilson is perhaps one of the more well-known file-sharing and technology news writers around. A journalist in the field since 2005, his work has had semi-regular appearances on social news websites and even occasional appearances on major news outlets as well. Drew founded freezenet.ca and still contributes to ZeroPaid. Twitter | Google Plus
buyondo Micheal
buyondo Micheal

hey..i thought this kind of backward way of doing things existed only in Africa,what a shame ..Americans are know ed for loving their country,what happened that they are now betraying it, if there is no market there come over to Africa instead of enacting bad laws..come and invest in Uganda,Bukasa Telecom INT is in need of partners

serene
serene

There are a couple small towns in Tennessee that has the same thing and it's worked great for them. Here in Chattanooga, EPB, our local power company, has rolled out their fiber optic internet and will soon be rolling out their own cable system run on their own smart grid system. I've been lucky enough to try out the internet and it's awesome. To have their cable, their much more reliable and way faster internet and add in a movie channel of my choosing (because I don't want them all) I would be saving 30 dollars or so a month than what I'm paying for Comcrap at the moment. And my internet goes out every time it rains. The minute EPB sent out their press release of their intentions, Comcrap took them to court. And lost. Monopolies suck and are supposed to be illegal. I think it's time more companies step up and we all deserve not to be treated like crap from the likes of Time Warner and Comcrap.

Al
Al

The only thing some people say is: OH NO! MORE TAXES! Having one supplier can be good.Example: I my city garbage is picked up by one company and the cost is about $60 a year. My friend lives in a city where the residents said NO WAY to one garbage collector. On that street a garbage truck from a different company goes by almost EVERY DAY and they pay about $240 a year. The waste from all the trucks driving much further is crazy.Medical care is another one: I know the middle man (insurance) makes tons of money (from you) because I sold insurance. For about 2 hours work I made about $2,000 over 6-8 years. Insurance has so many plans and it takes so many resources to manage these. And since health insurance is of course for-profit, no wonder health care is outrageous. But people think socialized health care is bad.I'd be all for the service provided by Greenlight. Then I wouldn't have to deal with Comcast and AT&T.Big business is actually running the United States, and just try to stop them.

Ken
Ken

I use free dialup .

ravious
ravious

This type of behaviour will continue until we do something about it.Presenting legislation that is clearly against the best interests of the American people should be considered an act of treason, and thus any member of congress who agrees to support or help such an act come into law should be held just as guilty.The sad truth is this country is no longer for the people. The United States has made a dramatic shift from a democracy into a Commercial Dictatorship where the power no longer lay in the hands of the people but in the hands of corporations and international bankers.If you have any doubts of this, please i invite you to watch the video below. Take notes, then find out for yourself what the truth is. All of our futures depend on the American people waking up from their propaganda fueled dreamworld and really understand what is going on around them.http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-594683847743189197

Zach
Zach

I live in a small town in Kentucky with an ISP that has a monopoly. They charge us 40 dollars a month for slow DSL that is not very reliable. Nobody else will come in and try to set up business because they don't think there's any business to be had. I feel the citizen's pain and they need to keep this city run internet going. It's the only way to combat greedy ISPs and their inferior service.

well
well

i'd like to know the people in charge of all this bs, so when one day down the line I see their names in the obituary I can throw a party each time

Heh
Heh

As much as I hate how the big ISPs fleece us at every opportunity. I feel even less comfortable allowing the govt control over any communication I depend on. It would be just too easy for them to cry some BS terrorism emergency and flip the switch or spy or ...oh what the hell, they do that anyway huh ...

The Hatchet
The Hatchet

J'Raxis, so you work for a cable company, or are an idiot? It is cheaper because it uses technology that is cheaper to operate, more reliable, and just flat out better. The cable companies refused to jump on to the new technology, as they rape their costumers of every expendable dollar. The company gets no government funding, it is simply operated by the government, and does not have the legal right to maintain a deficit in order to carry out negative business practices. In other words, they can not compete by taking out a deficit. If TWC or the other big bastards adopted new technology, and upgraded, they would not only be able to compete, but could easily provide better and cheaper service.That bill is using the government to enforce a monopoly, instead of destroy one. Not only that, but it prevents the progression of technology so that rapist companies like TWC can continue their less then legitimate practices, or at least their poor service/anti-net neutrality/hurting customers/extreme prices can continue. That is nothing but bad for anyone. If such a bill were to pass, the state to pass it would no longer be worthy of being part of America. Not even close.

JOE
JOE

@J'raxis - NC resident here, just read the bill. It should be renamed the 'Creating HUGE barriers to entry bill' as it essentially states that any government entity needs to run from a cash position up front without any chance to get capital from another section of the government.The reality that the bill's text ignores and that the incumbent ISP's are taking advantage of here is that rolling out new services is a proposition that is generally done on credit by companies. Especially something as cash intensive as laying cable. This bill takes a reality of business and says that government can't act this way, because in some fantasy world businesses don't use revenues as fungible.And broadband provided by the government has to follow the 1st Amendment in a way that private ISP's don't

Rob
Rob

"by lowering their prices and making up the difference with public funding?" Err... you might want to read there blog, tax payer money doesn't fun greenlight: http://savencbb.wordpress.com/about/

Ray
Ray

I think that J'raxis 270145 is a company mouthpiece. Straw man much?

Todd
Todd

The same thing happened where I live in central Virginia in the late 90s when Verizon lobbied for the same thing. The city eventually sold the fiber to a CLEC that now competes with Verizon. FYI, Virginia still has a liquor monopoly which is a cash cow for the state.

Ivan
Ivan

@Jraxis:You do realize that (most) incumbent broadband companies have already been paid by tax dollars? And they piddled it away somewhere?Think about it... Which bank in their right mind would fund a multi billion dollar project to lay down phone cabling all over the place?

Dave Osbourne
Dave Osbourne

This protectionism is not surprising. The monopoly that was telco and broken up has the same issues. Cable co's in the ISP business are no different, they want it all and screw the customer. The neat thing I love about Verizon FIOS when I had it in Plano TX 2 years ago during pilot rollout was the amazing speed (15/30 Mbps) for 39.99 a month. I could download a CD worth of data in 3 minutes or so. Well worth it, cable companies like TimeWarner suck and its that simple.

Lance
Lance

You've got a government-granted monopoly on one side, and the government itself on the other. For all the complaining here, I've got a question - which one do you really think is going to be giving a fairer deal?Simply put; it's not Time Warner. The corporations have failed and they're getting worse. They've agreed to have upgrades that we're just getting today out five or six years ago. They're always trying to screw the customer. They need competition.Preferably the kind that's going to drive them into bankruptcy. Seriously. I agree with the ideas of free enterprise, of how the government shouldn't undercut businesses and so on - but they've also got a responsibility to the people that elected them, to protect them from cutthroat companies. The government wound up running this because the private monopoly exists. A city government can't do jack about a monopoly other then something like this. Great work for the city. Take your ideals about government and business elsewhere - like the Federal Government. Get them to start breaking up the monopolies, and -then- complain about city or state-run internet. You're thinking in the wrong order.

Jeff
Jeff

If the bill does pass, file a lawsuit and any respectable judge would see whats going on and overturn it.

docid
docid

Wholey ayn rand batman.....equlazition of opertunity act anybody? (kinda ran backwords) or 'descructive competetion act aka dog eat dog rule?

toasterpastries
toasterpastries

i think if they pass it, anyone involed in doing so should be voted out. it would do the next people good when running to mention the repealing of said bills.

J'raxis 270145
J'raxis 270145

The only reason this ISP is so cheap is that, like any other government project, it's being funded by your tax dollars. (Note that their website says it's being paid for through bonds---well, guess where the money to pay off bonds comes from? Taxes the city collects. Municipal bonds are nothing more than deferred taxation.) I could sell you Internet service for $0.01/mo if I could just steal money to make up the difference, too.Time Warner is one of the scummier cable companies (they're a government-granted monopolist, like all cable companies, so they get no support from me), but something like this is something that should be opposed---if "city-owned" ISPs start catching on, you can say goodbye to private ones. Who's going to be able to compete against a company who can undercut competition by lowering their prices and making up the difference with public funding? And just wait until the city starts passing ordinances or engaging in other shenanigans to limit competition with their ISP. That's almost always what happens when governments own businesses that compete with private businesses. Being the holders of a monopoly on legitimate force, they can't resist.Has anyone actually bothered to read the bill in question? All it's doing is making sure the city-owned ISP isn't---or doesn't in the future---engage in the kind of abuses I mentioned above. It's specifically to make sure they can't lower their rates by subsidizing themselves with tax dollars, exempt themselves from paying telco taxes, and similar.Anyone opposing this bill is basically saying, "I want cheap Internets by making you pay for it."[Oh, and since this is government-owned, has anyone looked into whether or not this company will be forcing filtering or anything else heinous on their customers?]

John
John

Push polling is done wherever the incumbents want to inject BS in to the conversation without "owning" it...In Lafayette, La they asked a series of questions about what would people "thought about" BS like the city "rationing broadband access like they do water" and silliness about banning religious channels. It was downright embarassing.See: http://lafayetteprofiber.com/Blog/2005/05/cox-bellsouth-poll-questions-called.html and: http://lafayetteprofiber.com/Blog/2005/05/other-shoe-drops-new-push-poll-hits.html

Signa
Signa

If any part of the government is being profitable, good luck shutting them down.

Erik
Erik

J'raxis,You might want to read up. It is NOT using any taxpayer funds.Time Warner wants to continue making 2+ BILLION dollars a year providing slow, crappy service with horrible ping times because of all of their internal peering.

Xcentric
Xcentric

To J'raxis:There's nothing saying they're using tax dollars to pay back the bonds. They are charging for the service, after all... doesn't it make sense that they could pay back the bonds with income from service subscriptions? That was the whole point of selling bonds... otherwise they would have just allocated funds from tax income.The point is, the city installed the infrastructure (in this case, fiber), and ASKED Time Warner to use it to provide service. They wouldn't. The free market refused to provide the service they wanted, so they rolled their own. There's nothing wrong with that, at all. Time Warner had their chance.And there's no way a municipal ISP can undercut TW on price. Just look at the case of the multi-city Utopia municipal fiber network in Utah. In the areas their service is offered, Comcast dropped their prices to $24.95/mo (albeit on a slightly crappier service plan) to undercut them. The next city over that Utopia doesn't cover? Price is $54.95, like everywhere else.The broadband providers are the real monopoly in most of these situations. Where I'm at, if I want something faster than crappy 768k DSL, Time Warner is my only choice. Where's the competition? Where's the incentive for them to either lower price or improve service? There isn't any. And if they get crap like this "level the playing field" law passed everywhere, there never will be.



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