Yes, all these telecommunications corporations are going to unite to fight things like municipal broadband. It goes against their business model and threatens their existence. This is like health insurance corporations fighting universal healthcare coverage.
AT&T is waging a war against rural communities across America. Using the powers of the secretive lobbying group ALEC, AT&T is lobbying state legislators directly and through ALEC to make it illegal for communities to offer broadband, even when Big Telecom refuses to provide service in their areas.
Now even AT&T’s shareholders are asking questions, and the largest proxy advisor– a firm to help shareholders vote on issues in the company – is advising shareholders to demand AT&T come clean about its spending on politics and lobbying at AT&T’s upcoming annual meeting.
It’s about time that communities demand more from real estate developers than the status quo of gentrification and the displacement that comes with it. What’s worse is when this displacement is subsidized with tax payer money.
Take a look at what’s happening in hipster-laden, gentrified Brooklyn:
“We’re here for affordable housing, good jobs, and responsible development,” Local 79 organizer Lenny Anselmo said, as about 100 people assembled in front of the 42-story Avalon Fort Greene building. “If they’re going to use taxpayers’ money, they should use union labor, and people should be able to afford to live here. I make a decent living, and I can’t afford to live in these places.
This is happening all over the country, even in Arlington, VA where I live currently. On Columbia Pike all developers like B.M. Smith seem to be building is luxury apartments. They’re about to shut down a local coffee shop so that they can raise it’s building to put yet another luxury apartment complex on its grounds.
I’m not sure if the institution itself is cognizant of what it has done to the Baltimore area. Take the example of the current strike by hospital workers who are also members of the SEIU Local 1199.
“Hopkins says they don’t have the money [to lift union wages] but they own most of the community,” charged union member Michelle Horton at an April 9 solidarity meeting of strikers and local supporters. Horton’s comment touched on another raw spot in Hopkins’ relationship with Baltimore’s African-American community: The hospital and related institutions are currently engaged in a long-term effort to re-develop and gentrify the low-income residential neighborhoods that surround the hospital, prompting charges of racial discrimination and unfair dislocation.
They just spent a billion dollars to construct a new hospital building. How about investing some of that money in human capital?