Black elected officials from around the country are urging the Federal Communications Commission to ensure that new regulations on network neutrality do not ignore closing the digital divide.
In a letter sent to the FCC last month, the groups asked the agency “ensure that any new rules proposed can clearly be shown to benefit all consumers and not expand the digital divide facing disadvantaged populations.” The FCC is one of the agencies responsible for developing and implementing a national broadband plan.
The groups signing onto the letter are the National Black Caucus of State Legislators, the National Organization of Black Elected Legislative Women, the National Conference of Black Mayors, the National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials, and the National Association of Black County Officials. Collectively they are known as the Joint Caucus of Black Elected Officials.
In addition to their letter, the Joint Caucus has also submitted comments to Notices of Proposed Rulemaking (also known as NPRM, which is how agencies let the public know they are planning to issue rules and regulations), reminding the FCC and the National Telecommunication and Information Administration that keeping various socio-economic groups in mind during this process is critical, and is taking on greater importance during the economic downturn.
Other groups representing diverse groups are also working to bring more attention to the often-dismal rates of Internet access in areas with heavy minority populations. Earlier this week Native Public Media, an advocacy organization that encourages media ownership among Native Americans, issued a report highlighting how Native Americans are adopting new technologies and creating their own ways to bridge the digital divide.
The report, New Media, Technology and Internet Use in Indian Country: Quantitative and Qualitative Analyses, which was issued in conjunction with the New America Foundation, notes that broadband penetration on Indian lands is less than 10 percent. Despite such low numbers, Sascha Meinrath, Director of the New America Foundation’s Open Technology Initiative, said the group found a “dramatic uptake” in the use of web-based technologies among Native Americans.
Updated: It looks like the coercing certain Black Elected Officials have undertaken to put pressure on the FCC to be mindful of EVERYONE a national broadband plan effects has no sign of letting up. We just got a tip regarding a subsequent letter that had been sent to the FCC. We uploaded to full letter below:Category: News | Tags: broadband, Digital Divide, FCC, joint caucus, National Broadband Plan