Cable corporations discovered that by setting up fake grassroots campaigns such as Broadband for American (BFA) and the American Consumer Institute (ACI), these “independent consumer advocacy groups” could fight on the side of net neutrality.
BFA claims to be for net neutrality; however their investors and funding shows that they are actually controlled opposition.
For example, Beneva Shulte, a member of BFA, is a senior counselor for the DCI Group, a lobbyist organization that has Verizon as a customer and has been a respected political consulting firm to the US Telecom Association.
In fact, John Sununu, honorary chair for BFA is also a paid member of the board of directors for Time Warner Cable (TWC).
BFA has provided millions to fund Congressman Harold Ford, SKD Knickerbocker and Anita Dunn who a former communications director for the Obama administration.
Included in the organizations benefiting from BFA is the Republican National Convention (RNC) who was given $1.3 million in “consulting fees” to the RNC chairman Ed Gillespie.
More corporate “grassroots” campaigns have popped up in favor of net neutrality and the public such as Talking With Heroes (TWH), a group supporting US veterans rights who suddenly became political and vocal about the necessity of net neutrality.
The Ohio League of Conservation Voters (OLCV) is a supporter of BFA.
Another organization is the Texas Organization of Rural and Community Hospitals (TORCH) that stated it was “duped” into believing that BFA “was a cause promoting broadband installation in rural areas.”
Tim Karr, senior director of strategy at Free Press (FP) explained that “Broadband for America is well practiced in the art of fooling people. Like other AstroTurf groups that have entered the debate over the future of the internet, BFA has erected a scrim of public-interest rhetoric to hide its true intentions: pushing the policy objectives of the nation’s largest phone and cable companies. Sadly, the debate over issues like net neutrality and municipal Wi-Fi has been polluted by many such operations.”