Whenever a telecommunications company wants something approved (such as a merger or new rule), one of the first things they try to do is pretend that this idea has tons of consumer support.
When AT&T tried convincing people that their merger with T-Mobile was good for the public, the Hispanic Institute and a Latino Coalition all came out in support of the merger. These groups even had the same type of language found in their support letters. Wonder why?
The similarity in language is, of course, because these groups are being told what to say by AT&T. One DC insider informs us that rumblings on K Street suggest AT&T had called every civil rights group in the United States for support within fifteen minutes of the deal being announced. Fearful of losing AT&T donations — most of these groups quickly got to parroting prepared AT&T statements, unconcerned about the actual impact of a T-Mobile deal. Getting funding for a new events center apparently dulls any ethical pangs felt using your organization as a hired stage prop. – DSLReports
After the FCC announced the reclassification of Internet service providers as common carriers subject to Title II regulation, so-called consumer groups wrote their own briefs to a D.C. federal appeals court in which they ask the court to vacate the FCC’s net neutrality rules.
For example, the Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council (MMTC) filed a 25-page brief with the D.C. Court of Appeals claiming that the net neutrality rules “would deeply harm the tens of millions of Americans not yet connected to broadband networks.” Although the MMTC told the Court that they were just a civil rights advocacy group who conducts research and analysis, they didn’t mention that they are simply a corporate-funded group that takes consistent strong stands in support of the telecom industry.
From 2009 through 2011, the MMTC received at least $725,000 in contributions and sponsorships from network neutrality foes including Verizon, Time Warner, and the National Cable and Telecommunications Association, according to MMTC tax filings and sponsorship lists. MMTC’s relationship with Verizon demonstrates the group’s various methods of obtaining industry revenue. – TechDirt
So I guess I shouldn’t be that shocked when I see the Hispanic Technology and Telecommunications Partnership (HTTP) expressing their “concerns” to the FCC on the issue of “unlocking the set-top box”. The HTTP believes that if the FCC actually gave consumers more choices at a cheaper price, it would “undermine diversity in the TV industry in an effort to solve a problem that does not exist.” Note that nowhere in this letter does the HTTP actually provide any evidence for any of their statements.
As StopTheCap wrote about the HTTP:
Hispanic Technology and Telecommunications Partnership – Follows AT&T policy initiatives around like a friendly puppy. HTTP was busted by Ars Technica when asked whether AT&T had any hand in helping the group draft its opposition to Net Neutrality. HTTP’s Sylvia Aguilera insisted she initiated the drive to oppose Net Neutrality, but was silent on whether AT&T helped draft the letter opposing it.
BroadcastingCable must have accidently forgot to put that part into their story when claiming HTTP to be “another diversity group”.