A large number of US community groups found themselves roped into joining an anti-net neutrality lobby group supporting the cable companies.
Desperate to appear like their greedy views on net-neutrality were part of the mainstream of American thought, the cable and cellphone industry, signed up a number of small groups to their lobby organisation.
The sign ups were designed to show to the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) that consumer advocates agreed with the comms companies plans to charge users twice for their internet use. By having small businesses in their lobby group, dubbed Broadband for America, it made it look like there was a grass roots call for a two tiered interent.
However it has been revealed that Broadband for America largely funded by a single contribution from the National Cable and Telecom Association (NCTA) which is the trade group that represents Comcast, Cox, and Time Warner Cable. The member list is a random assortment of companies and community groups, many of which say they never intended to sign up for an anti-net neutrality coalition.
For example Vice found several groups that did not know that they were members of the group. Bob Calvert, the host of TalkingWithHeroes.com, did not even know he had signed up for anything political. Another Broadband for America member, the Texas Organization of Rural and Community Hospitals, said it had joined only to support broadband access in rural and underserved areas, not on issues relating to net neutrality or the classification of broadband as a utility.
Dave Pearson, president of the group said he would reexamine its endorsement and make a determination whether to continue supporting the coalition should it find that the current policies they are proposing would undermine the original goal of greater access for all Americans
Don Hollister, the executive director of the Ohio League of Conservation Voters, said he was unaware of his organization being listed as a Broadband for America member.
Broadband for America’s has used its “300-member coalition” saying that net neutrality the rules would “cripple development of the internet”.