Monday, May 14, 2007

NAACP Inconsistent on Broadband
The NAACP's Greg Moore laments the state of broadband deployment in the Asbury Park Press, criticizing the President's failed effort to deploy universal broadband by this year. Moore insists that for the NAACP, "broadband in every home should remain our policy goal," yet in Florida they're supporting bell-lobbied legislation that state consumer advocates say simply aims to legalize deployment of next-gen services to only the most lucrative neighborhoods (aka "cherry picking").

Moore's piece also uses the digital divide as a tool to take a shot at network neutrality, parroting the incumbent position that operations like Google are getting a "free ride" on incumbent networks. Moore takes it even further, suggesting that network neutrality advocates, not ISPs, are to blame for low-income communities being unable to get broadband connectivity:
"Now, some well-intentioned online activists are pushing regulations called 'net neutrality,' which would keep costs low for the large Internet content companies but shift the costs of network expansion mostly to consumers. The effects could be disastrous for low-income and minority communities, pricing them out of the broadband market by guaranteeing a free ride to companies such as Google and eBay while shifting costs for broadband expansion back to consumers."
As we recently mentioned, it's not clear anymore if groups like the NAACP or NAD represent their corporate donors or their constituents. Also see telecom activist Bruce Kushnick's recent report on how incumbent ISPs co-opt existing advocacy groups to push political agendas that frequently are not in consumers' best interests.

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