The FTC Conference on Net Neutrality and Broadband and Corporate Influence.


During February 2007 the FTC held a meeting titled: "Broadband Connectivity, Competition Policy”


This resulted in a report which quoted the work of many of the speakers. In going through the speaker list, it is clear that many of the speakers had ties toVerizon or AT&T.  (This list was created simply going to Google and typing in the name and "Verizon" or "AT&T"... not exhaustive.) We are in no way implying any wrongdoing on the part of any person or organization, or that these presenters are not respected experts and scholars.


However, we are concerned that:

a) The “FTC Bios” listed for these speakers (see above link) did not include their ties to AT&T or Verizon, the corporations they are discoursing about and who are former and current clients.

b) The FTC may not checked the backgrounds of the speakers and required them to indentify their corporate relationships. This weighted the analysis in favor of the corporate position as opposed to the public interest position.

c) Both the FTC and the Department of Justice have quoted the experts' data without discussing the influence of their funding sources, many of whom are paid as 'experts' by AT&T or Verizon et al.

d) Many of these experts are also part of New Millennium Research Council or Progress & Freedom Foundation's projects, which are also funded by the phone and cable companies. Did these groups help to influence these discussions?

We are not the only group to notice that the positions of the Department of Justice or the Federal Trade Commission on Net Neutrality relies heavily on experts funded by the phone and cable companies. Free Press has filed a FOIA to "uncover whether industry lobbyists or White House politics unduly influenced a recent Justice Department filing against Net Neutrality — the longstanding principle that prevents phone and cable companies from discriminating against Web sites and services."


PARTIAL LIST OF SPEAKERS: Broadband Connectivity, Competition Policy


*   George S. Ford

  • Chief Economist Phoenix Center for Advanced Legal & Economic Public Policy Studies.
  • The Phoenix Center hides its funding sources, but a number of different organizatons claim that the group is funded by the phone companies.
  • See the cable companies' Phoney Baloney:
  • Other mentions of funding sources:
  • “Spiwak said the Phoenix Center is funded by ‘the old AT&T, the new AT&T, wireless companies, software providers’ and other Bell competitors.” [Technology Daily, 7/26/06]
  • “In a telephone interview last week, Lawrence Spiwak, president of the Phoenix Center, acknowledged receiving funding from AT&T and Verizon Communications.” [Television Week, “Cable Group: Telcos Paying for Support,” 2/27/06]  

*  Alfred E. Kahn

*   William Lehr


*   Thomas M. Lenard


*   Timothy J. Muris

  • Professor George Mason University School of Law.
  • Verizon is a “partner” with George Mason University School of Public Policy’s Executive Education Partnering Organization, one of the only corporations on the list and also built the 300 seat- state of the art, Verizon Auditorium.



*   Gregory L. Rosston

  • Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research
  • Footnote: “I have consulted for AT&T, MCI, Pacific Bell, Verizon, various CLECs, and internet-based companies.” 

*   Gregory Sidak

  • Visiting Professor Georgetown University Law Center;  Founder of Criterion Economics
  • Clients include: AT&T, Bell Canada, BellSouth, CTIA-The Wireless Association, Qwest Communications, SBC, Verizon, Verizon Wireless,

*   Scott Wallsten 

*   Hands off the Internet, Christopher Wolf. 



*   Walter B. McCormick, Jr., President & CEO United States Telecom Association, The telephone company association and lobbying group.


*   Michael Altschul, Senior Vice President and General Counsel CTIA - The Wireless Association, AT&T and Verizon are the 2 largest wireless providers.


*   John Thorne, Senior Vice President and Deputy General Counsel, Verizon Communications


*   Daniel Brenner, Senior Vice President, Law and Regulatory Policy National Cable & Telecommunications Association.


*   Joseph W. Waz, Jr, External Affairs and Public Policy Counsel, Comcast