Consumers and Businesses Byte Back Against the Bell Monopoly with the Gigabyte March on Washington

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On December 10, 2004, the Washington Bureau for ISP Advocacy (WBIA), will officially launch a virtual Gigabyte March on Washington, D.C., to protest recent actions by the former Bell monopoly companies that will stifle growth of broadband service and related e-commerce activities. Virtual marchers are asked to send a message communicating their concerns to the FCC and other key Congressional and regulatory officials.

Gigabyte Marchers are protesting a petition filed on October 27, 2004, by BellSouth Telecommunications, Inc. (BellSouth) requesting forbearance from Title II common carriage requirements that apply to incumbent LEC broadband transmission. In its request, BellSouth is also seeking forbearance from the Computer Inquiry rules that require incumbent LECs to tariff and offer the transport component of their broadband services on a stand-alone basis, and to take service under those same terms and conditions.

The WBIA is a volunteer coalition working in partnership with the Information Technology Association of America (ITAA), The American Alliance of Service Providers, TeleTruth, Brand X Networks, the National Internet Alliance (NIA), the Telework Coalition, the Capitol Telecommunications Professionals (CTP), Rural Broadband Coalition (RBC), the Power Line Communications Association (PLCA), the California Internet Service Providers Association (CISPA), Tri-State Broadband, the North Texas Technology Council (NTTC) and others.

“The Bell monopoly will be alive and well if this request is granted,” said Frank Muto, President of FSM Marketing and co-founder of WBIA. “By threatening to stifle the growth of broadband services, the companies of the former Bell monopoly are undermining the economic growth that these services promise to our country,” he said.

The WBIA and other like-minded organizations believe that BellSouth and the other remnant companies of the former Bell monopoly will prohibit freedom of choice, threaten small business and job growth, and inhibit innovation and entrepreneurialism that contributes to our nation’s economy as well as the Homeland Security sector.

“If this request is granted we will see independent ISP’s across America forced to close their doors, layoff thousands of employees and lose the millions of dollars invested in their business, and we simply cannot allow that to happen,” said Cynthia H. de Lorenzi, CEO of PatriotNet, Inc. and co-founder of WBIA.

“The only hope we have of saving our nation’s Internet infrastructure lies in defeating this effort to restrict the viability of the nation’s remaining independent Internet service providers,” de Lorenzi said.

The Independent Internet Service Providers (ISP's) provide Internet access and related services to over 30-million business and residential subscribers.

About the WBIA:

The Washington Bureau for ISP Advocacy (WBIA) is a volunteer grassroots coalition of ISP's, CLEC's, technology innovators, suppliers, aggregators and consumers who recognize the need for consumer choice and the value of retaining the “first tier” of independent ISP connectivity to the Internet. For more information contact Frank J. Muto

FSM Marketing Group, Inc., Phone: 440-877-1321, Email: info@ispnetworks.org. This release may be printed in part or in whole with proper attribution to WBIA. To arrange an interview, please call Frank Muto, 440-877-1321 or Cynthia H. de Lorenzi 703-797-1888 x211.

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