eWeek connects NMRC to Issue Dynamics, a telecom lobbying firm: Wayne Rash reports at the end of a story about Philadelphia's upcoming municipal wireless announcement the following blockbuster about the ties between the New Millennium Research Council, co-issuers of today's report "Not In The Public Interest - The Myth of Municipal Wi-Fi Networks." (I've written extensively about this report and its precursors over the last few days.)
Rash writes: While preparing this story, eWEEK.com learned that the NMRC is actually owned and sponsored by Washington lobbying firm Issue Dynamics Inc., whose clients include most of the major telecommunications companies in the United States. Those companies have been active in opposing municipal wireless and broadband efforts. The company claimed that its reports were nevertheless completely independent.
I've been saying these folks were sock puppets for days and criticizing the lack of transparency about funding among several organizations involved in creating this report, while still listening to the message. (I had some positive things to say about parts of the report earlier today.) This should be a major embarrassment to Issue Dynamics's clients who are now starkly revealed as the puppeteers.
More prosaically, Rash describes the public/private partnership that Philadelphia expects to use, which is in contrast to the kinds of entirely municipal efforts decried in the NMRC's report. Tropos may have the lead as it was involved in a four-square-mile test. And note throughout the article that Philly's CIO Dianah Neff is talking about broadband wireless, not "Wi-Fi," as the report continually conflates.
The ever-insightful Carol Ellison also weighed in about the NMRC report. She summarizes the phone conference about the release of the report today as, "The rollout of municipally held Wi-Fi networks will likely have a detrimental effect on city budgets and on competition." Ellison castigates the press event and the report, noting, "But while the session promised to fill the gap on the dearth of in-depth analysis on the subject, it and the report that accompanied it offered many more sweeping statements about failed projects than information about why they failed."
Ellison shreds the NMRC for its undisclosed connection to Issue Dynamics: "The NMRC made a point to say that none of the researchers who participated received any money from NMRC. But in case you're wondering who's paying the bills at IDI, take a look at its client list. If you don't want to read the whole huge thing, let me summarize those of interest in this issue: Ameritech, Bell South, Comcast, Pacific Bell, Qwest, SBC Communications, Sprint, U.S. West, Verizon and Verizon Wireless."
It's fair to say that the disclosure of the NMRC's parent firm may alter the entire landscape of debate on municipal wireless.