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[Statement] Dark Money Attacks On Utopia Fiber And Traverse City Light & Power

Updated: Feb 13



Photo of Gigi B. Sohn

In early December, an organization called the Domestic Policy Caucus (DPC) launched a project titled Nogovinternet.com, with a website and series of ads attacking, among others, UTOPIA Fiber and Traverse City (MI) Light & Power, both of which run community broadband networks. Officials affiliated with both networks are also Board Members of the American Association for Public Broadband (AAPB).

 

In addition, the DPC launched a project titled “Mass Priorities,” where, among other things, it attacks a planned community broadband network for Falmouth, Massachusetts.

 

Neither the Domestic Policy Caucus, NogovInternet.com nor Mass Priorities list any source of financial support for these projects.

 

Gigi Sohn, Executive Director of AAPB released the following statement:

 

Here they go again. Using false and tired arguments, big cable is attacking three community broadband networks that residents and their elected officials chose to build and own. And like it did earlier this year in Bountiful City, Utah, it is hiding behind a surrogate that doesn’t reveal its financial supporters.

 

It is profoundly ironic that the country’s richest media companies are attacking “government-run” networks when they are at the same time bringing in billions of dollars of subsidies from the federal government and seeking billions more in grants from state governments. When your tax dollars are on the table, these “private” enterprises are more than happy to grab them with both hands.

 

Traverse City, Falmouth and the Utah communities served by UTOPIA Fiber exercised the freedom to control their broadband futures because incumbent cable and telephone companies have not built networks that meet the needs of their residents, in some cases even after city officials asked them to do so. The residents of those communities want affordable, robust and reliable broadband and excellent customer service. But big cable would rather spend millions of dollars trying to block competition than improving their own networks.

 

It is hardly a coincidence that two of community networks featured on big cable’s dark money hit list are affiliated with AAPB.  As hundreds of communities consider public broadband as an option for their residents, AAPB will be there to defend their freedom to choose at every turn.


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