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Some Black, Hispanic, Deaf, Disabled, Low Income and Seniors, Astroturf and Co-opted Groups.


* Video Access Alliance

* Alliance for Public Technology

* American Association of People with Disabilities

* Internet Innovation Alliance

* National Association of the Deaf

Other groups also sent out releases on this and related topics including:

* National Black Chamber of Commerce

* Consumers for Cable Choice

* Netcompetition

* League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)


* Video Access Alliance

The PR release previously quoted is from Video Access Alliance, a non-profit which is run by Julia Johnson and funded by Verizon and AT&T.

According to a Florida Times' article "FL: Consumer groups or covert lobbyists?" March 5, 2007

"Video Access Alliance, based in Tallahassee, is comprised mainly of independent networks, video programmers and entertainers. VAA chairman Julia Johnson said the clients of her company, NetCommunications, include AT&T and Verizon."

Common Cause wrote this of VAA:

"Video Access Alliance has the dubious distinction of being exposed as a front group by a Member of Congress."

Worse, Julia Johnson had a position of power over the phone companies as the former Chairman of the Florida Public Service Commission, but now works for them. According to Forbes:

"She was Chairman of the Florida Public Service Commission (the "Florida PSC") from 1997 to 1999 and served as a Commissioner of the Florida PSC from 1992 to 1999."


If the 'leader of the pack' is an astroturf front, what about the other groups? Many have joined in multiple campaigns to support this and previous AT&T-Verizon-friendly regulations at the FCC, Congress and at the state level.

* Alliance for Public Technology (APT)

APT is funded by Verizon and AT&T and is run out of the offices of "Issue Dynamics", who creates skunkworks campaigns funded by the phone companies.

Here's what they claim:

"APT is composed of public interest groups and individuals, some of whom historically have been left out of the Information Age, including the elderly, minorities, low income groups and people with disabilities."

Here's more about their astroturf work:

APT was a member of the FCC Consumer Advisory Committee. Their consumer representative was Daniel B. Phythyon, who was also "Senior Vice President, Law and Policy at the United States Telecom Association ("USTA"), where he oversees its government affairs, law and policy departments. - I.e., the phone companies' main lobbying association. A conflict of interest?

* American Association of People with Disabilities.

AAPD gets major donations from both Verizon and the Verizon Foundation, and put a Verizon VP, Richard T. Ellis - on its own board. (2005). It participated in multiple Verizon-based campaigns, including part of a group put together by Issue Dynamics that jointly signed an ex parte letter to the FCC, explaining why the Bell companies should not have to open their fiber-optic networks to competition. --- It worked.

* National Association of the Deaf (NAD): Verizon's telecom and broadband primer.

How insidious does it get? Here's how these groups combine to do campaigns collectively. Verizon created "primer" for groups representing disabilities, deaf, blind, and others so that they can quote the phone companies' position correctly.

According to the National Association of The Deaf (NAD), The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), American Foundation for the Blind (AFB), American Council of the Blind (ACB), National Association of the Deaf (NAD), Self Help for Hard of Hearing People (SHHH), TDI (formerly known as Telecommunications for the Deaf, Inc.), and World Institute on Disability (WID), all use a 'Primer' on essential telecommunications and broadband issues. It is funded by the Verizon Foundation.

"The Primer contains information that will help you to advocate effectively on Broadband, Peer to Peer Signing, Telecommunication Relay Services (TRS), Wireless, VOIP, Universal Service, and Unbundling.... This "Primer" is designed for advocates to use in working on these urgent issues. The NAD thanks the Verizon Foundation for its support in developing this Primer."

Also, their broadband report was created in conjunction with New Millennium Research Council, which is a 'project of Issue Dynamics', created to help create the aura of legitimate research.

"Broadband is very important for many Americans with disabilities. The case was made in a report, 'Broadband and Americans with Disabilities', that was issued by the National Association of the Deaf and, simultaneously, by the New Millennium Research Council."

* The Internet Innovation Alliance (IIA) in a Self-Congratulating Bell-Spin.

Another questionable group is Internet Innovation Alliance. Here is a separate press release by this astroturf group applauding the actions of another Bell-funded group.

"The Internet Innovation Alliance today applauded the Alliance for Public Technology (APT) on the release of their policy paper - "Achieving Universal Broadband" "APT should be commended for helping to bring much needed attention to the critical issue of universal broadband deployment and adoption," said Bruce Mehlman, Co-Chairman of the Internet Innovation Alliance and former Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Technology Policy."

Common Cause wrote this about IIA:

Here's the cable's companies astroturf site, PhoneyBaloney, giving an opinion of the IIA:

Other recent releases:

* Consumers For Cable Choice: Astroturf group.

Here's a recent press release for Congress to imitate the FCC's bad policy decisions.

"Consumers for Cable Choice (C4CC) today urged the U.S. House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet to emulate the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) pro-consumer stance on the cable industry."



To read about them in 'phoneybaloney' see:

Here's what Common Cause wrote:


Yet another phone company flak is Netcompetition run by Scott Cleland. Here's their recent press release on net neutrality

"Internet Expert Warns Against Net Regulation" Mar 14, 2007


"Today, the Chairman of, Scott Cleland, urged the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet to work with the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) to keep the Internet unfettered by Federal or state regulation."

Need the Black Vote?

This problem is not new. Here's an article from 1994, outlining AT&T's support to get the black support.

"A new black business lobby - National Black Business Council"

"The NBBC's primary sponsor is AT&T, which is providing office space, advice and financial support. AT&T is a longtime supporter of other minority-owned businesses and organizations, such as the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Women Business Owners. The telecommunications giant says it welcomed a relationship with the NBBC."

And in 2007, the National Black Chamber of Commerce puts out a release "National Black Chamber of Commerce Endorses FCC in Video Debate",

Just go to their site to learn that AT&T and Verizon are both 'partners', and funding the group.

And it seems this practice to get black community representation is common, according to

"Prominent among supporters of Big Cable and Big Telephone are the National Black Caucus of State Legislators, thanks to tens of thousands in donations from AT&T, Verizon and Comcast."

Let's not forget Hispanics.

On the Consumers for Cable Choice site we see that one of the members who is part of their press releases is League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)

"LULAC President Hector Flores, who signed the petition representing his 115,000 members, said Latinos are among the biggest consumers of video communications, yet have little influence in the current monopolistic regulatory structure. "We see competition as a way to leverage our value and encourage better programming, better price and more inclusiveness," he said.

LULAC has been receiving large contributions from Verizon since the 1990's.

In Massachusetts, LULAC writes:

"LULAC is supporting this reform because we believe that if adopted, there will be more options for cable TV and broadband internet service, which will lead to more enhanced offerings, better service and lower prices. Verizon's new video service, as well as its voice and Internet services will be offered over the most advanced fiber-optic network in the country."

"One of LULAC's goals is to ensure that all Americans have access to the latest in technology infrastructure investments."

Obviously, LULAC missed the FCC and state filings on broadband in Massachusetts. By 2010, the entire state should already have been rewired and paid for. Here's a complaint New Networks filed in 1999.