NYC Protest

Posted on May 19, 2006 - 11:07am.

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National Day of Out(R)age – New York City Protest

Location: Verizon World Headquarters
140 West Street at Vesey Street

Date/Time: Wednesday, May 24th 12:30-1:30 (arrive 12:15)
ACE-23 trains to Chambers St.

Organized by the Coalition with Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR), NYC Grassroots Media Coalition, Paper Tiger TV and more!.

Betty Yu (917) 734-7130
Lyell Davies (917) 701-9854


Hundreds of concerned citizens, politicians and representatives of community organizations are expected to protest against “deregulatory” phone company legislation—and the ‘million-dollar-a-week’ efforts by the telcos to pass this legislation in Washington.

The day’s activities are being coordinated by “Saveaccess”—citizens concerned about the damage the COPE bill (H.R. 5252) and Senate bill S.2686 would do to Public, Educational and Governmental (PEG) TV in New York City and elsewhere. Protests nationwide are targeting Verizon, AT&T, and BellSouth.

The proposed legislation illustrates the growing rift between NYC and Washington on telecommunications policy. On May 10th the NYC City Council unanimously passed a city Resolution in opposition to this legislation.

The COPE bill has been widely criticized for proposing changes in existing telco franchising rules—including:
1) Allowing ‘video-service’ phone and cable companies to “redline” communities they see as unprofitable—thereby increasing the digital divide.
2) Dismantling current provisions for ‘Public, Educational, and Governmental (PEG) TV’.
3) Changing the Internet as we know it by removing ‘Network Neutrality’ requirements—allowing Internet companies to introduce ‘pay-as-you-go’ charges.
4) Ending local franchising and replacing it with a federal franchise—ending completely local accountability by the phone companies.

The planned day of “Out(R)age” is intended to highlight popular opposition to this legislation—and to counter the aggressive lobbying efforts of the telcos who are reportedly spending over a million dollars a week on lobbying efforts, advertising campaigns, and on the funding of ‘astroturf’ front groups which appear to show grassroots public support for COPE—but are actually telco front organizations.

In recent months over 500,000 people expressed their opposition to COPE by writing or calling elected representatives. May 24th will be the most visible expression of opposition to COPE yet organized.

The propose legislation has been called a phone company “give-away” at a time when many are criticizing the phone companies’ illegal disclosure to the NSA of private information about millions of Americans—and at a time when telco mergers threaten competition and consumer protections.

Around the country dozens of local governance bodies are opposed to this legislation—including the National League of Cities, the National Association of Counties, US Conference of Mayors, and the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors (NATOA). Protests have been scheduled in New York, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco—details of additional cities still to be announced.

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