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FCC Tweets, Free Press Class Big Firms Twits

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From Weekly Report

WASHINGTON, August 31, 2009 – The Federal Communica¬tions Commission is making good on its efforts to be transparent and timely – this time in 140 characters or less. The agency has joined the thousands of Twitterers by launching its tweets at The FCC’s tweets include news about the agency and progress reports on the national broadband plan.

It has also launched a new blog last week called Blogband -- – kudos to you if you can say that five times fast. The agency said it will chronicle the development of the plan and as with most blogs, allows reader comment.

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[private_Premium Content][private_Free Trial][private_free-trial]“To foster public dialogue about the national broadband plan, we’re tapping the power of the Internet to launch a new FCC blog,” agency Chairman Julius Gena¬chowski wrote in the first post. “Blogband will keep people up-to-date about the work the FCC is doing and the progress we’re making. But we want it to be a two-way conversation. The feedback, ideas, and discussions generated on this blog will be critical in developing the best possible national broadband plan.”

The agency isn’t the only one reaching out with new tools. Free Press in the same week launched an online tool that it says will “help ex¬pose phony grassroots groups hired by big phone and cable companies to advance their political agenda.”

The tool features “the Money Trail,” which tabulates lobbying spending by phone and cable firms. It also singles out what is says are the deceptive activities of groups such as FreedomWorks, Americans for Pros¬perity, NetCompetition and the Heartland Institute.

Among the Free Press findings: Comcast spent more than $45 million on campaigns and lobbying. The group points out that this same amount could have provided one year of broadband service to 150,000 households;

Qwest spent $10 million on lobbying that could have provided broadband to 5,500 libraries for one year; and Time Warner Cable spent $24 million on lobby¬ing. This same amount could have subsidized 100,000 low-income households for one year of broadband service.

“The fake grassroots groups are spending major resources to deceive the public and promote agendas of the corporations that sign their paychecks,” said Timothy Karr, campaign director of Free Press. “We need transparency, accountability and honest debate. The crucial policy decisions being made right now about the future of the Internet must be based on indepen¬dent research, reliable data and facts.”[/private_Premium Content][/private_Free Trial][/private_free-trial]

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Drew Clark is the Editor and Publisher of and President of the Rural Telecommunications Congress. He is an attorney who works with cities, communities and companies to promote the benefits of internet connectivity. The articles and posts on and affiliated social media, including the BroadbandCensus Twitter feed are not legal advice or legal services, do not constitute the creation of an attorney-client privilege, and represent the views of their respective authors.

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