Karl Bode over at Broadband Reports reproduces a piece of Senate transcript featuring Verizon and SBC's CEOs: The two CEOs deny that they're interfering with municipalities and that they can't stop anyone from anything. Except they admit that they are lobbying and that municipalities are unfair competitors because, SBC's CEO Whitacre says, municipalities makes laws, charge franchise fees, and so forth--except that that only applies to cable and telecom, while broadband is generally unregulated and broadband is what is largely being fought.
There's this misleading exchange, too:
Kohl: In Pennsylvania, the law was adopted at the behest of [Verizon]’s lobbying. Is that correct?
Seidenberg: But it didn’t prohibit the municipality from providing the service. It gave us a chance to jawbone about it, but it didn’t prohibit it from doing it.
Of course, that's a lie or Seidenberg is a severely uninformed head of his own firm. The law absolutely forbids Philadelphia's network except that as part of a compromise by the governor's office before Rendell signed the bill into law Verizon provided a waiver that's allowed under the law. Verizon was absolutely not required to provide that waiver once the bill was signed and certainly would have denied it had the cry not been raised.
Remember: Pennsylvania's law puts total control of a town or city's residents decision to build or farm out a broadband, telecom, or cable network entirely in the hands of incumbent operators who get to veto it. An extra-legislative, extra-suffragist process is created that denies self-determination and hands it over to non-people: corporations.
Verizon's CEO also maintains that lobbying against municipal services isn't a "programmable activity"--I think he means programmatic--and they only go after egregious situations. Which is a complete falsehood unless he is, once again, utterly uninformed about his company's lobbying efforts.
Seidenberg also claims that municipalities can't build networks that work:
"We would also make the point that in all these places where municipalities want to get into this, with all due respect, they don’t do a very good job either. Which then impacts us because the cities usually come back to us and find a reason that we need to spend money to fix the things that have occurred."
Great. Now are you going to cite a list of cities provided by institutes that are paid for by your company indirectly through Issue Dynamics, and that list contains the misrepresentations of municipal operation that we've been talking about for weeks here? You can get back to us on that one with concrete examples of what you're saying that are provably true. I want to see them. I haven't seen a single one yet that's turned out to be a municipal failure, but I'm sure there must be at least one out there.
It would be even funnier if Verizon hadn't not built promised networks while accepting money to build them. I guess it's easier not to fail when you take the money and don't build the network.
Read the comments that follow Bode's transcript expert for more golden nuggets of first-hand detail, too.