“BellSouth’s Shame”

Sasha Meinrath reports on BellSouth’s shame. Like Om Malik, he connects BellSouth’s most recent in New Orleans to its poor history in Lafayette (and in the pocess kindly refers his readers to this blog). Most interesting, however, is that she reports a concrete suggestion on what we might do about BellSouth’s obstructionism: make it potentially expensive.

She lifts the suggestion from Esme Vos at Muniwireless, whose own post is entitledScrooge of the Year nomination: BellSouth,” There she says:

I have a proposal for cities and counties that are planning wide-area wireless deployments: Insert a clause in your RFPs and RFIs that says companies that have pushed for restrictions on municipal broadband deployments will automatically be disqualified from bidding on projects or at least will “lose points” when their bids are being evaluated. Consortia that include these companies will be at a disadvantage. Not only that, when the network is up, the city or county will not hire the same anti-muni broadband companies when it implements applications such as wireless VOIP for municipal employees.

This will make companies choose and weigh the benefits of running to Congress or the state legislature for their anti-municipal broadband push: do you stand to make more money or lose it if you adopt this position?

A mere written “preference” in the RFI would probably get ’em where it hurts. BellSouth, at least, has made it clear that its pocketbook is all that matters. The idea that their stands might cost them money would likely be sobering. Right now it’s all upside for them. Every day of delay is another day without effective competition. Once such a plan was in motion, you could count on the reps from firms that lost bids inflating the influence (“not my fault we lost the bid; after all, they had a rule about companies that fight muni broadband) …this is a great idea.

We’ve seen a recent call in a full page ad in the Advertiser to try to influence the board of directors through a letter-writing campaign.

That’s two ideas. More? Use the comments.

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