FCC Moves to Dismantle Net Neutrality to the Detriment of Latinos and Other Communities of Color

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 18, 2017

CONTACT
Clarissa Corona
213.718.0732
communications@nhmc.org

FCC Moves to Dismantle Net Neutrality to the Detriment of Latinos and Other Communities of Color

FCC Vote Signals Agency’s Move to Shirk Responsibility to Consumers, Allow Internet Service Providers the Ability to Restrict Access to Internet for Millions of Americans

Today, the Federal Communications Commission, under the leadership of Chairman Ajit Pai, voted 2-1 to pass the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that seeks to disavow the agency’s well-established authority and responsibility to prevent Internet Service Providers from throttling and blocking internet content. The NPRM vote follows the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit action to deny petitions to rehear its 2016 decision in U.S. Telecom Association v. FCC that affirmed the Open Internet Order.

Said Carmen Scurato, director of policy and legal affairs at the National Hispanic Media Coalition:

“The FCC vote today shirks the agency’s obligations as a consumer watchdog in ways that threaten to widen the digital divide by giving Internet Service Providers more power to restrict access to the internet. The cost of internet access is already a major reason why half of Latino households are offline and remain disconnected. The FCC needs to find ways to expand access, not give a free pass to corporations who are more motivated by increasing profit margins than providing the utility that American families need to thrive in the 21st century.

“It’s very concerning that Chairman Pai needs millions of everyday Americans to tell the FCC why giving ISPs free reign to block or slow the internet will be problematic. The FCC’s reclassification of broadband under Title II gave the Latino community greater ability to foster entrepreneurship, authentic storytelling, and participate in politics without internet gatekeepers standing in the way. NHMC will continue to deliver that message to the FCC as many times as it takes to preserve rules written for consumers and not corporations.”

In March, the National Hispanic Media Coalition signed a letter along with more than 170 public interest organizations calling for the protection of the free and open internet. The letter urges these leaders to support and continue to enforce the 2015 Open Internet Order and to oppose legislative and regulatory actions that would threaten the strong net neutrality rules already in place.

Internet Service Providers (ISPs), like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T, are considered common carriers and have an obligation to ensure that all internet traffic is treated equality. Title II has been found to be the most viable legal framework for the FCC to withstand legal challenges and assert its authority over broadband, a fact that was upheld by the D.C. Circuit Court less than a year ago.

More on NHMC’s work to protect net neutrality:

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The National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) is a media advocacy and civil rights organization for the advancement of Latinos, working towards a media that is fair and inclusive of Latinos, and towards universal, affordable, and open access to communications. Receive real-time updates on Facebook, Twitter @NHMC and Instagram @NHMC_org.