Minority Chambers of Commerce Add Voice to Broadband, Net Neutrality Debate

Leadership of the National Black Chamber of Commerce, the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and the National Hispanic Chamber of Commerce have come out against net neutrality regulation, arguing it could limit access and opportunity for minority-owned small businesses.

“We believe incentives, not regulations, are needed to stimulate private investment for the expansion of broadband networks,” said Javier Palomarez, president of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, adding that the Federal Communications Commission should instead focus on increasing access in underserved communities and working to educate the public on the benefits of Internet access.

Unlike many of the other groups that have submitted comments to the FCC, these organizations focused on the need to ensure broadband access is available to support small businesses. Justin Nelson, president of the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, said the Internet also helps increase the development of green jobs which will be critical to economic recovery and growth.

“We want to Leverage private capitol with local entrepreneurship,” said Harry Alford, president of the National Black Chamber of Commerce. “Broadband takes the mom and pop and turns it into a small business, then into a medium sized business, hiring people and providing salaries and benefits along the way.”

All three groups also said the pace of innovation is a major reason to stay away from regulation; what is put on the books could be quickly outdated by emerging technologies. Alford cited changes in communications technology in the years between Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the Haitian earthquake in 2010. Between then and now there are so many new ways to communicate and get information from the ground during an event–thanks to the Internet when phones disappear there are still several other ways to communicate.  Alford also stated that a regulated Internet could have severely affected the way people were able to communicate during the Haiti disaster.

“Burdensome regulation on a segment of industry that has not shown a need for regulation is a slippery slope,” said Nelson. “We’re not really sure whats out there, so why fix what’s not broken? As we increasingly become a global economy and we’re looking to small businesses to help innovate and help us to grow out of our current economic situation, the quicker the easier we can make deployment of broadband a part of our every day lives the better off that we’ll be.”

All three groups also said that funding from telecommunications or technology companies was not a motivation for their stance against net neutrality regulations.



ourdayiscoming says:

The Alliance for Digital Equality, Harry Alford and the Black Chamber are puppets of the telecom industry (period). Let them dispute that. Net neutrality is important to a community still suffering from a digital divide. Let them dispute that in an open forum.

Not stac77 says:

Stac77, i hope your post was a joke.

did you not read the last sentence of the article?
“All three groups also said that funding from telecommunications or technology companies was not a motivation for their stance against net neutrality regulations.”

Comcast, Time Warner and the likes are paying them $$$. Take a look for yourself and please never post anything ever again. You're making the internet a worse place.

The national black chamber of Commerce also doesn't believe climate change is valid. Harry Alford, the CEO, received money from ExxonMobil for that belief.

Stac77 says:

Over the past few weeks, some non-traditional but much-needed voices have begun to speak up for the interests of minority and underserved communities. While some may question their sincerity and motivations, I’m thrilled to see our community leaders and local officials starting to step up to the plate to represent our interests. I don’t recall a time in recent history when so many minority elected officials and chambers of commerce took an affirmative stand on telecommunications policies that affect our communities, and yet they are probably best suited to address the issues that plague our communities. The momentum that these coalitions of minority officials have generated over the past few weeks will hopefully continue well into the future. For far too long, the interests of our communities have been dictated by outsiders and it really is time for us to take a stand.

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