AT&T lobbies Wisconsin GOP to nuke Wisconsin's best-of-breed co-op ISP for educational institutions

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35 Responses to “AT&T lobbies Wisconsin GOP to nuke Wisconsin's best-of-breed co-op ISP for educational institutions”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Hit them where it hurts, in their pocket book. Send your comments to AT&T Investror relations. I have two sattelites I will turn back on and get rif of comcast if this goes through.

    John Galt 1175

  2. yrarbil cilbup says:

    Look no further for proof the US is a Fascist empire run for the benefit of a few mega-Korps like ATT. They are at war with education, and libraries, and will not stop untill they are gone, replaced by restrictive and expensive pay as you go scams.

  3. Anonymous says:

    How to make money by selling nothing:

    AT & T, Comcast, Frontier etc. promise to provide rural broadband when it makes ‘economic sense’ to do so–never in other words. They will get a ‘franchise’ from the state which will insure that nobody will be allowed to ‘compete’ with them in offering this nothing. State representatives from rural areas will receive generous bribes I mean campaign contributions protecting the above companies. Satellite internet or dial up will be the only alternatives offered to us urban-challenged types.

  4. Jake0748 says:

    “AT&T lobbies Wisconsin GOP to nuke Wisconsin’s best-of-breed co-op ISP for educational institutions”

    Why, of course they do. Is anyone surprised? Money is everything and the welfare of the general public means nothing. Am I wrong?

    @Sluggo, can’t come fast enough for me neither. ;)

  5. Larskydoodle says:

    Wrong.

    Not “wrong on so many levels,” but wrong on just one, basic, obvious level.

    Any suggestions on what one (or many) online activist(s) can do to fight this?

    • Anonymous says:

      Please just spread the word, Larsky. Just like the turn-back of the railroad funds, the anti-union legislation, the pro-gun legislation, and the cuts to public education, this is a tea-party bill that’s being run under the guise of a “It’s What Wisconsin Voters Voted For” when really nobody on earth voted for this.

      BTW: also see: http://uppitywis.org/blogarticle/state-cuts-dot-staffing-spends-millions-more-private-consultants

      The link is posted by a clearly left-leaning blog but states that the spending report is non-partisan, though I haven’t checked that out.

      Wisconsin is becoming a showcase of the poor public policy and government that I think is really starting to hurt this country–we’re going completely off the rails–like, Sarah Palin off the rails–because the state legislature has, as a voting bloc, swung completely back to the right instead of being a centered, moderate government, which would be more realistically representative of the state’s populace. But all the voters are offered is the black-and-white, left-to-right, same choices hell-bent on painting the other party as morally and politically deficient. The conversation of common sense, in other words, finding the absolute correct course that will benefit the greatest number of people, isn’t even being had anymore.

      Sorry. Sigh. /rant.

    • Christopher Mitchell says:

      If you aren’t in Wisc, this is hard to fight. If you are, see the bottom of this page: http://demaa.org/wiscnet/node/60

      Spread word to folks in Wisc. They should has elected officials to delete sections23-26 of the UW System Budget Bill.

      The rest of us need to keep building stronger networks to respond to these state-by-state attacks from AT&T and similar companies. They succeed because they give tons of money and lobby everyday. But with stronger networks, we can oppose them by bringing scams like this to light and getting people to pay attention.

      Also, be sure to make sure your elected officials know that you want a future with real choices from service providers, not a fast cable network vs slow DSL choice. I work with communities that are building networks structurally accountable to the community – via local public ownership or coops. Even though most communities will not build their own network, if 20% do, it creates pressure on private providers to invest and be somewhat comparable.

    • Cowicide says:

      Any suggestions on what one (or many) online activist(s) can do to fight this?

      One suggestion, don’t talk about doing things to them over the phone. They have no qualms with illegal wiretapping, that’s for sure.

  6. Garst says:

    You know what’s really ridiculous about this law AT&T is trying to push through? If it weren’t for universities, AT&T would be out of [expletive] business! Universities are the reason we have an internet, and if weren’t for the internet, the parasitic remnants of the old AT&T wouldn’t have made enough cash to re-coagulate back into a monopoly Hellbent on destroying competition and price-gouging customers! AT&T should be a FAILED! business!

  7. jphilby says:

    The decimating financial crisis their slathering cronies have set upon us is being leveraged as the best opportunity the GOP hardasses have had since the 30s to privatize EVERYTHING they possibly can.

    They hate -anything- that’s been created by the people, for the people, and they’ll do whatever they can to shove us back into pre-Roosevelt America.

  8. Gulliver says:

    So. Mad.

    This makes me want to take my hardbound copy of Adam Smith and beat the Rublican fuckwits over the head until it seeps in that STATE PROTECTED MONOPOLIES ARE NOT FREE MARKET COMPETITORS.

    Free market doesn’t mean entitlement to have the government smash your competitors any more than freedom of religion means freedom of a religion to take over the government!

    AT&T, the modern East India Company! Maybe we need some privateers to figure out a way to raid their satellites. Hear that, Anonymous? Want to do something useful for a change?

  9. Milo says:

    I always wondered: with Americans’ expressed disdain for big government, where does that leave us as a country?

    Might we be, in our heart of hearts, communitarians, idealizing a confederacy (neither a republic nor an empire) where each patch of our great American quilt is allowed to retain its unique regional blend of cultural values and traditions?

    Or might we be, collectively, just a “consumer plantation” (cit. Rev. Bill Hicks, RIP) to be cultivated and farmed by a reptilian monolith of business interests, until we are little more than the dry, arid soil of humanity?

    Hey, AT&T: that whole ‘don’t tread on me’ thing was about a goddamn country.

    • Gulliver says:

      I always wondered: with Americans’ expressed disdain for big government, where does that leave us as a country?

      That’s the problem. Republicans talk about reducing government, but in fact they expand it as surely as their counterparts. And not just on social regulation such as drug laws. They subsidize and prop up monopolies at the expense of competition.

      Democrats call for more and more laws to spackle over cracks in the foundation not merely of government, but of society itself.

      The debate should not be over the size of government. The debate should be over what government regulation actually works and what regulation doesn’t. As a general guiding principle, the carrot typically works better than the stick. If you incentivize social behavior and disincentivize antisocial behavior, you get more of the former and less of the latter, particularly if you hold both the players and umpires accountable. If you make everything illegal under a byzantine code of laws even government agencies and watchdogs can’t keep straight, don’t be surprised when everyone focuses on finding loopholes and not getting caught.

      http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2010/08/overcriminalization

  10. Anonymous says:

    It is time for cell phones and internet to become public utilities, just as telephone, gas, electric, and water have been.

  11. Anonymous says:

    This just in:

    Comcast and ATT will merge in the near future.

    Don’t be surprised.

  12. No Imagination says:

    @Gulliver: As an over 60, ex-IT pro, I think Anonymous has done some great stuff (as well as some misguided stuff), but on the whole, I agree they might want to look at this problem. I use ATT for my cell provider, but in this case they seem to have their collective heads up their collective behinds.

    • Gulliver says:

      As an over 60, ex-IT pro, I think Anonymous has done some great stuff (as well as some misguided stuff), but on the whole, I agree they might want to look at this problem. I use ATT for my cell provider, but in this case they seem to have their collective heads up their collective behinds.

      I’m just sick unto the death of hearing the Republicans touting their “free market values” while watching them take a piss all over free enterprise. I imagine it’s about how a Marxist feels in China.

      Pranks are all well and good, but it’s hard to see what DDoS attacks that very temporarily offline Glen Beck’s website actually accomplish beyond the one-fingered solute. If throughout could be pirated off of AT&T’s tax-payer subsidized infrastructure on the other hand…

      Not that I’m actually advocating anything.

      • bhtooefr says:

        Ah, but Anons and LulzSec have done some pretty serious damage to Sony.

        Taking a few of their bigger money-making online services down for a month plus, getting millions upon millions of customers private data, etc., etc.

  13. Thorzdad says:

    I’m pretty sure the current Republican gameplan, nationwide, is to do as much harm possible before the voters wake up and vote them out of office.

  14. Hubert Figuiere says:

    How long before this happens up North?

  15. atomix says:

    I’m a network administrator for a rural school in central Wisconsin. Around here, DSL is hardly pervasive, with many students still on dial-up. With a student population of about 1500 in our district, our buildings – the libraries especially – have become a hub of the community largely because of our fast Internet connection provided through Wiscnet.

    Show me an ISP that is willing to provide 10-50Mbps in this area, and I’d gladly accept the competition. In the meantime, an ISP that is not floating only on the profit they get from customers is our only option.

    If AT&T was so concerned with competition in Wisconsin, maybe they should have used the billions of dollars provided to them by taxpayers to expand their networks out here so we can have a choice.

    The day we are faced with the choice of a $4,000/mo fast uplink, or a 768k DSL line for our entire district, I’m outta here.

  16. Cook!EMonstA says:

    Adam Smith’s Free Market is an ideal that works on paper but in reality, it works about as well as communism and for the same reasons; People are selfish jerks when they can get away with it. Every business wants to dominate it’s market, in other words, become a monopoly. Buyers are not provided with accurate information to make informed decisions. Sellers regularly misrepresent their products (it’s called advertising and marketing). Speculators manipulate markets and markets do a very poor job of regulating themselves. Labor competes unfairly against it self until the lowest bidder works for nothing, economic indenture, in other words slavery. Just be grateful you have a job.

    • Gulliver says:

      Adam Smith’s Free Market is an ideal that works on paper but in reality, it works about as well as communism and for the same reasons; People are selfish jerks when they can get away with it. Every business wants to dominate it’s market, in other words, become a monopoly. Buyers are not provided with accurate information to make informed decisions.

      Most people who read The Wealth of Nations do so without historical context. Smith was a reformer advocating against the British practice of the time whereby the Royal government and its European counterparts required skilled tradesmen and corporations to be licensed under a system that began with feudalism in which the Crown (via the aristocracy) was a silent partner in markets and, later on, guilds and companies. The main difference with what has evolved in many industries in the modern West is that instead of the Crown now owning a stake in the corporations, the largest corporations, unions and other industry trade associations now wield unequal power over government. As Noam Chomsky put it, “What free market?”

      If you read Smith as a bible like the Leninists read Marx, then yes, it will fail you badly. If you read it skeptically as an economics text then it has a lot to offer. Idealism is fine, but blind and unskeptical ideals try to shove reality into their models like squares pegs into round holes and end up shearing off the corners in the process. Treating economics like a religion is beyond stupidity, and that goes for capitalists and socialists.

      Sellers regularly misrepresent their products (it’s called advertising and marketing).

      Actually it’s called fraud. If our government spent half the money it does on subsidizing major telcos and half the time it does on crushing their competitors for them on fighting fraud instead we might not be a corporate feudalist society.

      Speculators manipulate markets and markets do a very poor job of regulating themselves.

      Who knows? It’s never been tried.

      Labor competes unfairly against it self until the lowest bidder works for nothing, economic indenture, in other words slavery. Just be grateful you have a job.

      This is one place (not the only one) where I support regulation since it doesn’t stifle competition to set a minimum wage.

      I also support regulation of natural commons such as air, water, mineral resources, real estate and rights of way. And I support government agencies and government funded schools being able to shop for private sector services that serve them best. Their blatant hypocrisy aside, AT&T isn’t actually fighting government funds going to private enterprise; they’re fighting it going to any other private enterprise except themselves. They’re behaving as a monopoly will, by trying to defend their control of the market. I have no problem with them trying. I have a problem with them succeeding because legislatures are willing to give them special treatment while barring their competitors. Lobbyism is cronyism. Law-makers should not be allowed to ask or allow the dominant players in an industry to write their own regulations.

    • andrei.timoshenko says:

      Actually, Adam Smith’s work is a hell of a lot more nuanced and sophisticated than the arguments of today’s Freemarketeers.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Go Wisconsin! Maybe you can become a 3rd-world state within the USA! Keep trying!

  18. Anonymous says:

    So…libraries have been in the process of being undermined now for a while, and don’t be doubting: its gonna keep happening until there’s only a few corporate training pamphlets on a shelf for us to read. What are YOU doing about it? waiting for an angry mob with pitchforks and torches to show so you can be anonymous and still do good work?
    Don’t. And don’t worry so much about active revolt either.
    Just talk to your neighbors talk about what you can do when things get worse. Set up a neighborhood network, share files and stuff. Garden. And find ways to avoid paying taxes.

  19. Anonymous says:

    As the Network Operations Manager for a small Wisconsin ISP, I can say this is a natural progression for AT&T.

    (1) AT&T has bought up many of the smaller companies throughout the US and is still relying on antiquated equipment in these areas. These smaller companies would have been able to upgrade services, had they remained private entities. But with AT&T controlling them, they do not see upgrading as “economically feasible” and will act only to maintain and replace existing equipment.

    (2) This results in AT&T Services lagging in terms of Speed options. AT&T’s DSL cannot compete with Charter in terms of speed vs. cost.

    (3) They are losing traditional DSL and Dial up Markets to cell phones and cable internet. Instead of having to pay for land line service to get connected at 56k, people can check their email and do lite browsing on their smart phones. Many have the option of connecting their computers through the cell phone, as well.

    (4) AT&T then has to (A) upgrade equipment to offer speeds that would justify paying for landline services. (B) Move away from traditional wired services and develop more 3G and 4G cell-based technologies. (C) Look for ways to increase revenues from existing customers and users of their services.

    Don’t consider this as being “AT&T is being greedy” but more along the lines of AT&T still has to pay its circuit costs while maintaining its profit margin in a diminishing and ever-changing broadband market.

    This is just how business works.

    • Gulliver says:

      @ Anon #33

      AT&T has bought up many of the smaller companies throughout the US and is still relying on antiquated equipment in these areas. These smaller companies would have been able to upgrade services, had they remained private entities. But with AT&T controlling them, they do not see upgrading as “economically feasible” and will act only to maintain and replace existing equipment.

      Indeed. Why bother competing for customers when you’re the only legal choice?

      Don’t consider this as being “AT&T is being greedy” but more along the lines of AT&T still has to pay its circuit costs while maintaining its profit margin in a diminishing and ever-changing broadband market.

      Of course AT&T is being greedy. That’s their job as a publically traded company. They have to maintain profit margins to remain in business. In an equitable legal environment they would achieve that by upgrading their infrastructure, attending to customer service and generally not taking their customers for granted. But their history of regional monopolies has allowed them to shit on their immobile customer base with everything from phone slamming:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phone_slamming

      …to illegal surveillance that would make Lavrentiy Beria proud…

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hepting_v._AT%26T

      Now that competing tech is weakening their landline margins, they’re going after any easy profit left. Government funded institutions like schools are one such target because they can buy off politicians with campaign contributions who in return force those institutions to procure their data connection from the most politically connected companies instead of the most competitive.

      Fighting the market simply prolongs the inevitable. If AT&T embraced the market and maneuvered to be competitive, they could use their resources to expand their customer base fairly. Instead they’re taking the path of least effort because their expertise are in corrupting regulation rather than running a strong business. As a capitalist it disgusts me that assholes like that are held up as paragons of the free market. It disgusts almost as much as the politicians that routinely enable this behavior to succeed while categorically failing to enforce laws against fraud.

      This is just how business works.

      No, this is how a state-protected monopoly works.

  20. Anonymous says:

    If you’re in Wisconsin, contact your State Senators and Representatives to kill sections 23 through 26 of the UW System Omnibus bill.

    It’s bad legislation that is designed to ultimately land taxpayer dollars in the pockets of private corporations.

    Those corporations (AT&T) want the “public” sector to stay out of the broadband market. Guess what? I don’t want my tax dollars going to a PRIVATE corporation for services in public institutions.

    There are so, so many bad things that will happen if this legislation goes through. Please do your part to help stop it.

  21. sluggo says:

    The revolution can’t come fast enough.

    • Rainer says:

      Amen Sluggo. It takes a majority of Americans awhile to pull themselves away from the TV to protest and be heard, something must eventually break the threshold.

  22. Forwardista says:

    Thank for your reporting this!

    This pretty much sums it up:
    If AT&T and allies are successful, they will be proverbial dog in the manger: they will not provide the needed connections on reasonable terms and will use their lobbying clout in the capital to ensure no one else can either.

    That has been AT&T’s method of operation in Wisconsin. AT&T did the same thing with municipal broadband.

  23. Kimmo says:

    Utterly filthy and completely unsurprising.

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