AT&T is taking some of the money from your iPhone bill and using it to intercept your complaints to the federal government. How? By become the biggest advertiser on Google, that's how.
When you type "FCC" into Google, you'll probably get a paid link to an AT&T blog ahead of the link to the actual federal agency where unhappy cell phone customers go to complain about their evil service providers, according to The Hill's "Hillicon Valley" blog. If you search for "net neutrality" or "internet regulation" as part of a budding effort to learn about open access laws and how telecommunications companies are trying to twist them, you'll likely get still another paid AT&T link at the top of the page.
In fact, AT&T was Google's biggest AdWords advertiser in June, The Hill reports. That was the month AT&T fumbled especially badly, with an iPad security breach on its servers, a bungled iPhone 4 pre-order system, and reception issues that, to be fair, were probably rooted either in an Apple design flaw or in customers holding their phones wrong. Of course, spending $8 million on Google propaganda in one month is probably quite sustainable: Some 1.7 million iPhone 4's were sold in the first three days of availability alone. At that level of business, spending millions per month distracting disaffected customers on Google is just the cost of doing business.