“Broadband For America” Members Didn’t Know Group Was Front For Anti-Neutrality Cable Industry

Broadband For America boasts 300 members, but some of them -- like an Ohio advocacy group and a bed and breakfast -- say they aren't actually part of the coalition.

Broadband For America boasts 300 members, but some of them — like an Ohio advocacy group and a bed and breakfast — say they aren’t actually part of the coalition.

Last week, we told you about the handful of in-name-only broadband advocacy groups that are funded by the cable and wireless industries and who are pushing its boneheaded talking points about net neutrality and how it will bring about the end of days if enacted (it won’t). We also pointed out how the member list of the questionably named Broadband For America coalition is littered with organizations — from nonexistent websites to a tile company and an Ohio inn — that are out of place next to Comcast, Verizon, AT&T and pals. Now, some of those BFA members are denouncing the coalition’s stance on net neutrality, or saying they had no idea why they were listed as coalition members to begin with.

Vice, which first reported on the bizarre op-ed pieces being pushed by leadership of Broadband For America and the fact that the coalition is almost entirely funded by a single donation from the National Cable and Telecom Association, reached out to follow up with some of the oddball names in the BFA members list and found that not everyone backs the coalition.

For example, there’s the Texas Organization of Rural & Community Hospitals, which joined the coalition in hopes of improving broadband access to rural areas, but which now says it will “reexamine this endorsement and make a determination whether to continue supporting the coalition should we find that the current policies they are proposing would undermine the original goal of greater access for all Americans.”

The executive director of the Ohio League of Conservation Voters tells Vice he has no idea why his group is listed as a BFA member.

“The Ohio League of Conservation Voters does not endorse your position on broadband,” he wrote in a subsequent letter to BFA. “This is not a policy area that we take positions on. Why are we listed as a Broadband for America member? I am unaware of Ohio LCV taking any position on broadband issues and I have been Executive Director since 2011. The Ohio LCV is not a member of Broadband for America. Remove us from your listing of members.”

As of this morning, OLCV is still listed on the BFA list.

So is the Spread Eagle Tavern & Inn, where the accountant tells Vice that he doesn’t know what the bed and breakfast is doing on the BFA website.

“I’m not aware of them and I pay all the bills,” says the accountant. “I’ve never heard of Broadband for America.”

“Broadband for America is well practiced in the art of fooling people,” Tim Karr, senior director of strategy for Free Press, tells Vice. “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.”

[via DSLreports.com]