Consumer Protections and Good Jobs

The Communications Workers of America, representing 700,000 workers in communications, media and other sectors, is calling on House and Senate leaders to support legislation to improve data collection about current broadband deployment, make resources available to states to move forward on determining where gaps in broadband coverage exist, and create public-private partnerships to expand broadband deployment and adoption. In this effort, CWA has been joined by a broad-based alliance of health care, education, farm, and public interest groups, telecommunications and cable companies, and trade associations in urging Congress to act now and move toward a needed national policy of broadband deployment.
Thank you to all of our readers, supporters, activists, and union brothers and sisters -- your hard work, support and encouragement has allowed Speed Matters to become a success, and to be recognized by two prestigious organizations for SpeedMatters.org.
Representatives from The Free Press, Communications Workers of America, the FCC, and both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama's presidential campaigns came together recently to speak out about need for high speed Internet build-out policies. This consensus calling for build-out policies reflects the sentiments of the greater American public, according to a recent poll of registered voters. With respect to five different build-out policies recommended by CWA, nearly all are supported by more than two-thirds of respondents.
The Public Utilities Commission of New Hampshire has approved the sale of Verizon Communications operations to FairPoint Communications, ensuring the deal will move forward, thanks to $362 million in new commitments from Verizon. Whether or not the deal -- which will affect Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont -- would be in the best interest of the public, has been hotly debated. Because of this debate and scrutiny, spurred by both CWA and IBEW, the sale has moved forward only with major revisions, designed to improve service to New England customers.
The Pennsylvania legislature is currently considering a bill -- The Consumer Choice Cable Franchising and High-Speed Broadband Promotion Act (HB 1490) -- that would bolster cable competition throughout the commonwealth, lowering prices for consumers and giving them more options for phone, TV, and Internet services.
CWA President Larry Cohen attended the "Building a Movement for Worker Justice" conference in Montpelier, VT last weekened. At the conference he highlighted the recent campaign by labor and community activists to "Stop the Sale" of Verizon's landlines in Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire to FairPoint communications, a small, financially unstable company.
Using metrics such as the Federal Communications Commission's definition of high speed Internet (200kbps, barely fast enough to stream a video) and the FCC version of access (just one person with access in an entire zip code), a new study has optimistically determined that President Bush's promise of universal high speed Internet by 2007 has almost been reached.
On Tuesday, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) held a discussion on the need for a national high speed Internet policy and what such a policy should look like. ITIF's president, Robert Atkinson, kicked off the event with a discussion of his new paper, "Framing a National Broadband Policy."
Verizon's plan to sell its northern New England lines to FairPoint Communications remained stalled this week in the face of continued public opposition. The companies have been engaging in intense lobbying for fast-track approval in Vermont, but Verizon has been unwilling to provide the resources necesssary to ensure that Fairpoint will be able to provide quality service to the region.
Union members and community activists opposed to the Verizon-FairPoint deal took part in a grassroots lobby day Wednesday at the New Hampshire State House in Concord to talk with their state legislators about the deal's impact on the future of New Hampshire.