Tuesday, May 10, 2005

And The Winner Is...

Good evening! This is Bunnie Riedel coming to you live from lovely downtown Dinuba, California where I am standing on the red carpet of the “Most Loathsome Telecom Corporation Awards.” You can feel the excitement in the air as the nominees of these awards are about to arrive. This star-studded event proves to be even more thrilling than in previous years because various Telecom Corporations have gone out of their way this year to prove how really “Loathsome” they are and the competition is fierce.

Just arriving we have Comcast Cable. Their achievements in being odious range far and wide but this year they really outdid themselves by taking the tiny city of Walnut Creek, California to court for refusing to grant a franchise until Comcast made a commitment to upgrade their system. Doesn’t Comcast look absolutely stunning with all that egg on their face?

Next I see Cox Communications! These boys really know how to give despicable a new shine. First they tried to pull that stunt to reduce franchise fee payments out in Arizona saying that they only cared about the “poor tax payers,” then they paid for a poll in Lafayette, Louisiana claiming that if Lafayette built a municipal system the city could “ration” television viewing to three days a week. Cox has a charm that so many of the other contenders do not possess, they are not only hateful they are also extremely amusing.

Wow! Here comes Verizon! Verizon is new to the field of video delivery but they are certainly making their mark! I am not sure I could even count the number of legislative initiatives they have written to destroy municipal entry. And that’s not even their best performance when you consider all the state level franchising legislation they have socked millions of dollars into, the oh so generous promise of a PEG channel here and there and the attempt to subvert the management of Public (and private) Rights of Way. They may be new but there is no doubt they are a brilliant star in Loathsome Telecom.

I haven’t seen SBC yet, but rumor has it they are an odds-on favorite for their recent announcement that they are just going to build systems and wait to be taken to court. It’s that kind of repugnant behavior that may have them walking away tonight with not just one but several awards.

My favorite has just arrived and don’t they look fabulous! I’m talking about Vonage of course. Vonage has proven its genius by offering phone service and forgetting to tell the customer there’s no 911 capability. Vonage has demonstrated abhorrent behavior beyond the pale and they could come out of tonight’s gala a clear winner. Keep your fingers crossed.

Next week I will be reporting from the equally important “Kick Them to the Curb Awards.”

Early information is there are several nominees that are outstanding.

I understand that Mecklenberg, North Carolina is a front runner for denying Time Warner a franchise after they gave TW several opportunities to come to the table with a reasonable offer. Walnut Creek, California is also a competitor for not backing down from Comcast and winning a victory in federal court. One of my votes will go for Malverne, New York whose brave mayor issued a “stop work order” to Verizon for laying fiber right and left without a franchise agreement.

Since these awards are based on the “People’s Choice” model, only you can decide who will take home the top prizes. You can use the comment button below to cast your vote for any nominee in either award. Or you can name a nominee of your own! Say who you want for “Most Loathsome Telecom Corporation,” or the “Kick Them to the Curb Awards,” and we will tally up the results.

Meanwhile, this is Bunnie Riedel, reporting from the red carpet, reminding you to stand up and fight!

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