Surprising precisely nobody, it appears that CenturyLink VP and long-time UTOPIA opponent Eric Isom is a member of the Utah Taxpayers Association’s Executive Committee. Per their June 2014 newsletter, he’s currently serving as the Secretary. You may recall he also was roaming the halls during meetings on HB60. If it isn’t crystal clear now why the Utah Taxpayers Association is astroturfing for CenturyLink, I don’t know what it’s going to take.
Of course, CenturyLink has a lot to lose. With the announcement in West Valley City that Ooma will be giving away the hardware for free landline service, they could shed as many as 40,000 access lines and several thousand vanilla DSL customers who opt for the basic 3Mbps service. While that fits their moves to abandon residential wireline service entirely, it also cuts into the highly profitable business products they’ve been focused on for the last few years. CenturyLink could lose tens of millions of dollars per year if Macquarie completes the buildout of the network.
So what can you do to help?
I don’t think most people realize just how deeply CenturyLink is embedded in the Utah Taxpayers Association. Bring it up at every public meeting. Share this post on every piece of social media you can and do so often. Once more people realize the uNOpia effort is just CenturyLink protecting its turf, the tide will change.
I’ve received word that Eric Isom, Qwest’s top lobbyist, has been eliminated at the Davis County Republican Convention and will not be on the ballot in this year’s election. This is good news as he would no doubt use the seat to push for anti-UTOPIA legislation. Still, always keep your eyes open for his continued lobbying efforts.
I’ve just found out that Qwest government affairs lobbyist Eric Isom is a candidate for Utah State Respresentative in District 15. You may remember him from numerous city council and legislative hearings where he spoke in opposition to UTOPIA and would frequently pull legislators and city council members aside for one-on-one conversations. There are three other Republicans vying for the nomination in that district and several Democratic opponents. I can’t state clearly enough how disastrous it would be for municipal broadband projects in the state to have an unofficial mouthpiece of Qwest elected to a state office. Isom has said that he will either resign from Qwest or transfer to a non-lobbying position, but I doubt that it would diminish the influence that it would have on his votes or proposed legislation.
House District 15 encompasses the western half of Kaysville along with significant portions of Layton and Syracuse. If you live in this district, it is critical that you talk to state delegates and attend the state convention to oppose his run for office. Let’s make this fight a top priority for anyone supporting UTOPIA!