New Millennium Research Council
The New Millennium Research Council is described on its site as a project of Issue Dynamics, Inc.. The group has an executive director and three board members, and issues reports typically in association with other groups and individuals that they describe as outside scholars and experts and independent analyst organizations. IDI clearly states how it uses NMRC on behalf of its clients:
- "A unique component of Issues Management & Research services is our relationship with the New Millennium Research Council. The New Millennium Research Council (NMRC) has an experienced staff that provides clients with topical briefs, targeted policy research, and in-depth issue analysis. The NMRC also provides clients with a network of policy experts who can provide content and services over a range of topics. NMRC research projects include, but are not limited to, telecommunications, Internet, and technology policy issues."
On Feb. 3, 2005, the NMRC released a report stating that municipal broadband deployments were anti-competitive and could waste taxpayers' money. IDI's client list includes many of the largest telecommunications and cable incumbent firms that municipal broadband, cable services, and voice services compete against.
The report was co-published by The Heartland Institute. Contributors included David P. McClure of The US Internet Industry Association (founding members listed only; Verizon on the board), Steven Titch of The Heartland Institute 501(c)(3) with no funders listed), and Braden Cox of the Competitive Enterprise Institute. The report also included an essay by the head of the Beacon Hill Institute, which produced an earlier report on the failure of municipal networks to have managable costs.
After coverage of this report appeared, the NMRC removed its board of directors page, which just prior had included three names: Karen Buller, Barbara O'Connor, and Jorge Schement. In an archived version of the page from Feb. 2004, Allen Hepner was listed with an Issue Dynamics affiliation. He is now listed as executive director on the site's contact page.
Buller was listed as the chair of the NMRC board. She heads the National Indian Telecommunications Institute, which does not list funders on its site. Buller sits as a member of the board of directors of the Alliance for Public Technology (APT).
Barbara O'Connor, another previously listed NMRC board member, is the founding chair of the APT, which states "Membership is open to all nonprofit organizations and individuals, not members of the affected industries." However, the sponsors and affiliates page lists BellSouth, SBC, and Verizon, which the site explains: "These affiliates provide a portion of APT's financial support but do not vote or serve on its Board of Directors."
The executive director of APT, Sylvia Rosenthal, is described in her biography as an assistant vice president of Issue Dynamics, Inc., "where she devotes her time exclusively to management of APT." The underlying HTML for the APT site shows Issue Dynamics copyrights and other information.
Jorge Schement is a professor at Penn State and a co-director of the Institute for Information Policy, which lists Issue Dynamics and Verizon among their sponsors.
Email: ahepner AT newmillenniumresearch.org Web: http://newmillenniumresearch.org
- "‘Not In The Public Interest – The Myth of Municipal Wi-Fi Networks’: Why Municipal Schemes to Provide Wi-Fi Broadband Service With Public Funds Are Ill-Advised", New Millennium Research Council, February 2005.
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