New Millennium Research Council

 

The New Millennium Research Council aims to "develop workable, real-world solutions to the issues and challenges confronting policy makers, primarily in the fields of telecommunications and technology."[30]   At first glance, the New Millennium Research Council appears to be a think tank.

 

But the details don't add up.  It lists no staff on its website - only a stable of "contributing scholars and experts," several of whom are Verizon employees.[31]   Guidestar.org, which maintains a database of nonprofit organizations, has no listing for the New Millennium Research Council,[32]  nor is NMRC listed in the Internal Revenue Service's Cumulative List of Charitable Organizations.[33]

 

It turns out that New Millennium Research Council is not a nonprofit group, but a "project" of Issue Dynamics, Inc., a for-profit public affairs consulting firm.[34]   Issue Dynamics lists a number of telecommunications companies on its client list - including Verizon, Comcast, BellSouth, SBC Communications (now AT&T), as well as the United States Telecom Association - the trade association for the telecom industry.[35]

 

Not surprisingly, NMRC's "research" tends to bolster the arguments put forth by leading telecom companies.  For example, NMRC released a report stating that municipal Wi-Fi networks are "not in the public interest."[36]   Communities throughout the country are finding that they can provide more efficient, affordable and accessible broadband internet service than the telecom giants, and are setting up Wi-Fi networks in the same way that they provide electricity, gas and water.  But the telecom companies see these community networks as a competitive threat, and are working at the state and federal level to prohibit municipalities from offering broadband Internet service.  The New Millennium Research Council, with its legitimate sounding name, lends credibility to the telephone and cable companies' argument.  Of course the financial relationship between the industry interests and the NMRC is not disclosed anywhere in the report.

 

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Footnotes:

 

[30] New Millennium Research Council, "About NMRC", at http://newmillenniumresearch.org/about/ (last visited 15 Mar 2006).  Back to report.

[31] New Millennium Research Council, "Contributing Scholars & Experts," at http://newmillenniumresearch.org/experts/ (last visited 23 Mar 2006).  Kathryn C. Brown, Jeffrey Kramer, David E. Young are described as Verizon employees.  Back to report.

[32] Based on an online search conducted 22 Feb. 2006 at http://www.guidestar.org/ pqCriteriaEntry.do?type=new&partner=guidestar&source=hplink (password required; free registration).  Back to report.

[33] Based on an online search conducted 22 Feb. 2006 of Internal Revenue Service Publication 78, Cumulative List of Organizations, at http://apps.irs.gov/app/pub78.  Back to report.

[34] New Millennium Research Council, "About NMRC", at http://newmillenniumresearch.org/about/ (last visited 15 Mar 2006).  Back to report.

[35] Issue Dynamics, Inc., "Representative List of Past and Present IDI Clients," at http://www.idi.net/about/clients.vtml, (last visited 15 Mar 2006).  Back to report.

[36] New Millennium Research Council, "Not in the Public Interest - The Myth of Municipal Wi-Fi Networks: Why Municipal Schemes to Provide Wi-Fi Broadband Services With Public Funds Are Ill-Advised," Feb 2005.  Back to report.