Free Press campaign coordinator Misty Perez has sent out (7/15/09) a call to action in light of the astonishing figure that "in the first three months of 2009, the phone and cable industries spent at least $20 million to hire more than 400 lobbyists" in an effort to "push for policies that fatten phone and cable profits while leaving us with an Internet that is too expensive and too slow." Why their sense of urgency?:
Right now, the FCC is crafting a national broadband plan that could fix our national broadband problem. FCC Commissioner Michael Copps called this plan "the most formative–indeed, transformative–proceeding ever in the Commission's history."
We desperately need it. Without such a plan, America has dropped to 22nd place in the world in broadband penetration, with approximately 40 percent of the country still not connected to high-speed Internet services.
If the lobbyists have their way, America will continue to fall further and further behind the rest of the world.
But if we get our way, we can reinvigorate the economy, open up public participation in government, empower a new generation of journalists, and give everyone the opportunity to prosper in the 21st century.
Perez links to a "pretty stunning" online "graphic to see how many phone and cable lobbyists there really are in Washington–and how much is being spent"–and asks that we "tell the FCC to support media that's participatory, open and democratic–and not to hand the keys to the Internet to the old guard."