Exclusive Interview with Telecom Whistleblower, Bruce Kushnick
If you've paid a phone bill any time in the last thirty years, you may have noticed a lot of little fees on your bill for things you probably didn't understand. Access fees, line maintenance charges, surcharges, and more. But who got that money? And what were they supposed to do with it?
To find out, Americans for Responsible Technology founders, Patti and Doug Wood, spoke with former telecom industry analyst turned consumer watchdog, Bruce Kushnick, about how state regulators allowed phone companies to charge these extra fees in return for a promise to connect everyone in their service area to high-speed broadband via fiber-optic cable.
But the telecoms never built the fiber-optic network. Instead, they used "creative" accounting to divert the money into their wireless networks, which were much more profitable. Meanwhile, the digital divide, the rural divide, and the homework divide all got worse, preventing millions of Americans from accessing broadband services.
Now these same telecom companies are still asking Congress for billions more in taxpayer dollars to connect everyone to wireless networks, which are inherently less secure, less reliable, more expensive, and come with significant documented health risks. (And since the telecoms have to run fiber-optic cables to support wireless antennas anyway, it's not likely that their wireless agenda will address the digital divide issues they've promised to fix for decades.)
Please listen to the fascinating podcast about the "big telecom swindle" and then contact your congressional representatives with a simple message: Do not give any more money to telecom companies to build out their wireless networks. Instead, demand that they build the national fiber-optic network they promised us and that we've already paid for.
Sample script for when you call your federal representatives:
I'm calling to ask (name of Representative) not to support any emergency funding for the expansion of wireless networks. Americans have already paid billions in extra fees on our phone bills to finance a national fiber-optic network promised by the telecoms decades ago, but the telecoms never built it.
Instead, they've used the money to build out their wireless networks which are much more expensive for consumers and more profitable for their own companies.
This is going to be a huge story, and it's just breaking now. We want to make sure (name of Representative) knows about the telecoms' dishonesty and votes against any funding for wireless expansion. Instead, (name of Representative) must demand the expansion of already-paid-for fiber-optic networks which will provide every American with safe and secure access to broadband services.