Sixteen organizations representing a diverse swathe of the American public are urging the Federal Communications Commission to recognize that any changes affecting net neutrality may also exacerbate the digital divide that already disproportionately affect minorities.
In comments submitted to the FCC, the group expresses concern that proposed rules on net neutrality imply they can only improve minority access issues, which they don’t believe is a given. The group is also asking the FCC to develop monitoring mechanisms to track the real world impact of its rules in the future.
“If drafted or applied incorrectly, net neutrality rules could increase the price of broadband for minorities, reduce broadband adoption, deter the investments necessary to fully bridge the digital divide, limit job growth and economic opportunity, and harm the interests of minorities in other significant ways.”
The FCC is set to issue its National Broadband Plan next month, and a major concern of this group and others representing those who are typically on the wrong side of the digital divide is that the plan include concrete steps to alleviate the disparities in both access and adoption. The filing suggests applying a principle of “Digital Equal Opportunity,” meaning access to the internet regardless of geography, social-economic status, race or ethnicity, tribal status, language, age, or physical or mental ability.
The organizations participating in the filing include:
- The ASPIRA Association
- Black College Communications Association
- The Hispanic Institute
- Hispanic Technology and Telecommunications Partnership
- Labor Council for Latin American Advancement
- Latinos in Information Sciences and Technology Association
- Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
- League of United Latin American Citizens
- MANA, A National Latina Organization
- National Association of Black County Officials
- National Black Caucus of State Legislators
- National Conference of Black Mayors
- The National Coalition on Black Civic Participation-Black Women’s Roundtable
- National Organization of Black Elected Legislative Women
- National Puerto Rican Coalition
- United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
If it seems odd that all of these organizations would come together you are not alone. In fact this is an historic filing. Never before have this many elected/appointed officials joined with civil rights organizations in filing comprehensive Comments of this nature in any Federal Communications Commission docket. Love to see stuff like this, especially on MLK Day.Category: News | Tags: FCC, Net Neutrality