AT&T is waging a war against rural communities across America. Using the powers of the secretive lobbying group ALEC, AT&T is lobbying state legislators directly and through ALEC to make it illegal for communities to offer broadband, even when Big Telecom refuses to provide service in their areas.
Now even AT&T’s shareholders are asking questions, and the largest proxy advisor-- a firm to help shareholders vote on issues in the company -- is advising shareholders to demand AT&T come clean about its spending on politics and lobbying at AT&T's upcoming annual meeting.
AT&T: Come clean about your lobbying to destroy rural Internet access.
AT&T's ties to ALEC are very troubling. ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) lobbies politicians to adopt amendments to laws that have been written directly by big corporations. Many of the amendments ALEC promotes are passed into law often verbatim by legislatures. ALEC is responsible for the "stand your ground" laws, leading to the killing of Trayvon Martin in Florida, and the "Ag-gag" laws that make it illegal to videotape undercover in factory farms.
AT&T and its lobbying friends ALEC must not interfere in decisions about this essential infrastructure so it can be made to serve the community first -- not to maximize short-term profits. As our lives become more and more digital, some communities are being left behind. Imagine not having enough bandwidth so your kids look up vital information on the Internet, apply for jobs online, use Skype to chat with loved ones freely, or use online banking.
When left to their own devices, companies rarely disclose their spending on politics and lobbying. That’s why the group of AT&T shareholders is committed to find out just how much of their investment is spent to destroy community-owned internet networks.
Take action now to fight for the right for communities to own their own Internet infrastructure rather than rely on Big Telecom.
It’s increasingly vital for Americans to access broadband for education and communications -- and AT&T is playing a major role in leaving rural communities behind. It’s time to get AT&T to stop its bullying ways.
Anti-Community Broadband Bill Introduced in Kansas; Legislating Incumbent Protection, Stop the Cap, January 30, 2014
ALEC, Tech and the Telecom Wars: Killing America's Telecom Utilities, Huffington Post, July 24, 2012