Verizon Bill Strategy Blog

March 8, 2007

John Donovan (CCTV) created People First, a “weblog/strategy piece”, as a way for people to work together to defeat the Verizon bill in the Massachusetts State House. The site provides a comprehensive approach towards achieving this goal.

“Verizon has introduced a bill into the Massachusetts State Legislature which is a disaster in more ways than one could even count, and they are putting a full-court lobbying and media press on to pass it, with extraordinary local and national dollars behind it. We need to kill this bill, but it’s going to take a seriously organized effort to win.

If you’re concerned about the future of community access to media and free speech, check out the blog and get involved.


Dollars & Sense Forum on Economic Justice and African-American Communities

September 9, 2006

A special upcoming event from Dollars & Sense

Economic Justice & African-American Communities
A Dollars & Sense Forum

Diane Dujon
Longtime welfare rights and anti-poverty organizer; editor of For Crying Out Loud: Women’s Poverty in the United States; administrator at the College of Public and Community Service, U. Mass-Boston.

Bill Fletcher Jr.
Longtime labor and international activist; until recently president of TransAfrica Forum; former education director of the AFL-CIO following years as an organizer in the SEIU, District 65-UAW, and other unions.

Chuck Turner
Boston City Councilor and longtime activist; has directed a CDC, an organizer training center, and a jobs agency for construction workers of color; worked at a nonprofit consulting firm focused on establishing worker cooperatives.

Friday, September 15, 2006
7:00 p.m.
Community Church of Boston
565 Boylston Street
Copley Square, Boston

Sliding-scale contribution: $5 to $20
Reception following the forum: contribution of $20 or more

This forum honors Chris Tilly, scholar and activist of labor and equality issues, who “retired” from the Dollars & Sense collective this year after 20 years of dedicated involvement.
Please join us in celebrating Chris’s contribution !!

For more information or to purchase tickets,
please call 617-447-2177 or visit
Tickets also available at the door.

Since 1974, Dollars & Sense has been a leading source of left economic analysis. A perennial Project Censored award winner, its bimonthly magazine demystifies mainstream economics and gives voice to those the capitalist system leaves behind. In addition, its “Real World” series of classroom readers reaches 10,000 undergraduates each year, subverting the neoliberal orthodoxy that dominates the college economics curriculum and inspiring a new generation of economic-justice activists.

Union set to fight if Verizon sells units

May 17, 2006

Union set to fight if Verizon sells units
By Jay Fitzgerald, Boston Herald General Economics Reporter
Boston Herald
Thursday, May 11, 2006

A union representing thousands of Verizon workers is vowing a major fight if the giant telecom company tries to sell off its phone-line businesses in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont.

Calling such a sale a “form of rural redlining,” a spokesman for the Communications Workers of America said Verizon is trying to unload operations in sparsely populated states rather than invest in new fiber-optic lines in those areas.

“This is going to trigger quite a controversy,” said CWA spokesman Steve Early, noting that selling phone lines to smaller companies would hurt both consumers and union members.

Read the article here.

Ensure Access To Video Services For All!

May 16, 2006

(From Consumer's Union)

"Giant telephone companies want to offer new for-pay video services over high-speed Internet wires to compete with cable companies, potentially offering some consumers relief from skyrocketing cable bills. But rather than just take on the cable giants in the marketplace, the phone companies are asking Congress for special exemptions from existing policies that help communities protect their consumers.

Currently, local communities have the right to ensure that video service providers offer their video packages to all consumers in a community, rather than just the wealthiest. That helps ensure that middle- and low-income consumers get more choices and aren’t left on the wrong side of the digital divide. These protections are more important than ever given that cable TV prices are soaring and high-speed Internet has become critical to education, business opportunities and other fundamental daily needs.

But the big phone companies don’t want existing consumer protection policies to apply to them. And, at the same time phone companies claim they want to compete with cable, they’ve also opposed laws that would prohibit them from interfering with your access to web sites and services offered on the Internet that might compete with the phone company’s own video offerings."

Tell Congress
To bring cable price relief and competition to all consumers,
including those who need it most!

Communication Discrimination Threatens Boston Communities!

May 10, 2006

Telephone companies, dominated by white corporate interests, are just entering the communication service delivery business. The phone-company backed BARTON/COPE Act (The Communication Opportunity, Promotion and Enhancement Act of 2006) coming up for consideration by the U.S. Senate very soon, endangers:

Public Access Television
Network Neutrality and
Contains No Protection against Redlining

HIRAM SCOTT, President
Boston Neighborhood Producer's Group

will provide information, discussion, OPPORTUNITIES FOR ACTION opposing the COPE Act

May 17, 2006 (Wednesday)
12 noon-1:30pm
Community Change Library on Racism
14 Beacon Street, Suite 605
Boston, MA 02108

Please bring your lunch. Beverages will be provided. $5 contribution requested.
RSVP (617) 523-0555 or


Brown Bag Anti-Racism Discussion Series

This series brings together people who are interested in continuing the dialogue about the struggle against racism. Each noon session will be brief while providing an opportunity for networking and opportunities for taking action. Participants will become acquainted with one another and will engage in discussion centered on the topic of the day.

Why “Anti Discrimination” & “Build Out” Matter More Than “Net Neutrality”

April 30, 2006

(crossposted from April 27, 2006)

Broadcasting and Cable's John Eggerton writes

"Not included in the bill are voted-down amendments that would have held national video franchisees to a build-out schedule and toughened prohibitions on red-lining–building out more attractive parts of a franchise and bypassing ones with less potential return on investment or, as Ed Markey (D-MA) puts it, 'the other side of the tracks.' Still the bill as passed has language that requires telephone companies getting into video service to eventually serve all of a franchise, rather than allowing them to choose which parts of an area to offer service to, as the bill passed out of the Telecommunications Subcommittee allowed. That anti-redlining addition sat well with the cable industry, which had been pushing for it, but was not enough for Rep Markey and others who wanted build-out requirements as well." writes:

"Among the casualties today were these amendments;

1) Anti-Discrimination Amendment

An amendment to a national video franchising bill that would prevent discrimination of service based on race, religion, sex, or national origin. The amendment was defeated 29-23.

2) Build-Out Amendment (Red-lining)
An amendment that would have set build-out requirements for new franchisees under a national video franchise scheme being considered by Congress. Defeated 29-22, introduced by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.)
A weaker amendment passed, but since it set no timetable provisions concerning 'build-out', it will be nearly impossible to enforce – nice planning!"

What good is net neutrality without net service? These laws are not just about the Internet, they are about voice, video, and the Internet.

At Comcast, "Digital Cable, High-Speed Internet, Comcast Digital Voice."

At Verizon, "Phone, Internet, TV"

At Time Warner Cable, "Cable, High Speed Online, Digital Phone"

At AT&T/SBC, "Voice, Internet, Digital Satellite TV"

This legislation allows the largest voice, video, and Internet companies to serve only the communities of their choosing–the ones that will bring the most profits. What about everyone else?

This issue is not about network neutrality. It's about non-network discrimination.

Stand up against Discrimination and for Community Media!

April 19, 2006

TAKE ACTION with our quick e-template below

BACKGROUND: Thanks to years of advocacy, California has some of the strongest laws in the country protecting residents from redlining in telecommunications services. Redlining is the discriminatory practice by corporations of refusing to offer services to communities based on their race or socio-economic status.

But the not-so-Baby Bells are spending big bucks pushing a bill in the California legislature that does away with these protections, as well as the need to negotiate franchise agreements with local cities and towns.

You see, Big Phone wants one statewide franchise as part of their plan to roll out new pipes and offer video services to compete with Big Cable. Don't get us wrong, more competition and choice are generally good things for consumers – and as our track record shows, we're not fans of Big Cable's market dominance and poor behavior on pricing, customer service and labor relations.

But why do the not-so-Baby Bells need to strike down California's laws against redlining, unless they intend to redline?

And why won't they commit to the same level of support that Big Cable provides in local franchises to each city's public, educational and government channels?

More choice sounds good, but it needs to be for ALL Californians, and not at the expense of our low-income communities.

TIMING: The pro-Redlining bill will be heard in Committee at the California State Assembly on Monday, April 24th.

TAKE ACTION by April 24th: Use the easy form below to email the members of the Committee and express your opposition to this bill.

Please also call Committee Chair Levine (916-319-2040) and Assembly Speaker Nuñez (bill sponsor, 916-319-2046).

Tell them you oppose AB 2987 because you want real choices for ALL Californians. You oppose redlining and you support local video franchises and community media.

MEDIA ALLIANCE is a 30 year-old media resource and advocacy center for media workers, non-profit organizations, and social justice activists. Our mission is excellence, ethics, diversity, and accountability in all aspects of the media in the interests of peace, justice, and social responsibility.