WASHINGTON: The AT&T Foundation has been reportedly pressuring an
organization it helps fund, the National Puerto Rican Coalition (NPRC),
to reverse its position on a bill that would increase competition for
parent company AT&T.
The Washington Post wrote on Tuesday that Manuel Mirabal, president and
CEO of the NPRC, had received a letter from Esther Silver-Parker,
president of the AT&T Foundation, asking him to withdraw support for the
Tauzin-Dingell bill, championed by Reps. Billy Tauzin (R-LA) and John
Dingell (D-MI). Mirabal serves as co-chairman for the Hispanic
Technology and Telecommunications Partnership, which supports the
legislation on the grounds it will increase Hispanic access to the
The bill would make it possible for regional Bell companies to provide
high-speed Internet access, a market dominated by cable companies such
as AT&T and Verizon. AT&T believes they should not be able to do so
until they allow greater competition for local phone service.
Silver-Parker assured The Washington Post that the foundation was not
threatening to revoke funding over the issue, but Mirabal was not
In a reply letter he wrote that he was amazed Silver-Parker would use
her position to attempt to influence a non-profit advocacy organization.