THE BLOG
01/10/2008 08:06 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Hillary Clinton's Lobbyist Driven Telecom Plans

Excuse me for a second while I delve into something substantive.  I've written about Obama's transformative proposals on media and contrasted them to Hillary Clinton's 'Connect America' plan to expand broadband access, which is based on a private-public partnership model called Connect Kentucky.  Well, it turns out that Connect Kentucky is basically a fraudulent front group funded by government grants set up by telecom interests to advance their legislatve agenda and lie about internet access.  And what Clinton wants to do is spread it nationwide.

Connect Kentucky's own Andrew McNeill came onto our blog during our legislation 2.0 experiment to discuss his organization's achievements.

And, if I may say so myself, the results have been impressive. Currently 94% of Kentucky households have access to broadband internet service - up from only 60% two years ago.

Art Brodsky has the story debunking this from sources in Kentucky.

Connect's claim that more than 90 percent of the state has access to broadband has been met with a great deal of skepticism. "It's a joke," one knowledgeable source said, echoing what others also believe.

Sources with knowledge of the program said there were a myriad of problems. Connect Kentucky's results were overstated by a methodology that determined everyone within a 2.5-mile radius from a telephone company facility capable of supplying Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) service was indeed capable of getting the service. However, that assumption was not always true, the source said.

There are other weaknesses. Carriers aren't required to submit any information, and information considered proprietary can be withheld.

And Kentucky has fallen behind other states in terms of broadband.

Kentucky ranked 40th in broadband deployment, dropping three places from 2002, according to ITIF. The state in 2007 also ranked 44th in high-tech jobs, 46th in scientists and engineers as a percentage of the workforce.

Connect Kentucky also uses government funds to lobby aggressively for anti-consumer legislation, and is spreading to a bunch of different states as well as making its way into Clinton's technology plan.  Currently, Dick Durbin is pushing to expand Connect Kentucky nationwide, probably because his former telecom policy aide is lobbying for Verizon.

I've been skeptical of both Connect Kentucky and Hillary Clinton's telecom plans for some time.  Art Brodsky has shown that the reality is much worse than I had imagined.  Hopefully Senator Clinton will get rid of the telecom lobbyist inspired dreck writing the plans in her shop.  There's room for Clinton to maneuver away from Connect Kentucky, but her plan still doesn't contain a commitment that her FCC will uphold net neutrality provisions.  Clinton's media and internet proposals may allow the destruction of the internet.