FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 7, 2017
The National Hispanic Media Coalition Pressures FCC to Delay Proceeding, Disclose Critical Consumer Complaint Information Before Dismantling Net Neutrality
The National Hispanic Media Coalition today filed a Motion For Extension of Time in the FCC’s Restoring Internet Freedom Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) proceeding. NHMC’s Motion asks the FCC to delay its comment and reply comment deadline until the FCC produces public documents that have a direct impact on the proceeding. NHMC requested evidence critical to the proceeding through a series of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. In its initial request on May 1, 2017, NHMC asked the FCC to disclose all Open Internet consumer complaints submitted since the 2015 Open Internet Order went into effect, and for documents related to the Open Internet ombudsperson’s interactions with internet users.
“The information that NHMC urges the FCC to release would provide essential insight into the value of maintaining the FCC’s 2015 Open Internet Order,” said Carmen Scurato, director of legal affairs for the National Hispanic Media Coalition. “Millions of consumers have voiced their concerns about eliminating net neutrality protections and the agency should release all complaints that members of the public have submitted showing how the Open Internet Order has served as a tool in protecting our consumer rights. The FCC has confirmed that there is an overwhelming amount of responsive documents, therefore the disclosure of this information must be paired with sufficient time for members of the public to review and contribute meaningful input.”
In the NPRM, the FCC poses questions about evidence of harm to consumers, positive impacts of reclassifying broadband internet under the Title II classification, and what safeguards are needed to protect consumers. The 47,279 Open Internet complaints submitted by consumers, and the thousands of documents verifying interactions between the ombudsperson and consumers, would shed light on these questions, which the agency failed to address in the NPRM. The disclosure of these documents would have a direct bearing on the outcome of the proceeding but are currently only available to the Commission.
The specific information requested by the National Hispanic Media Coalition in their FOIA request includes:
- Documents, information, and communications related to informal complaints submitted to the FCC since June 2015 under the category of Open Internet/Net Neutrality, as wells as sub-issues that include blocking, data caps, inaccurate disclosures/transparency, throttling, and other.
- Records, including but not limited to emails, phone calls, handwritten or typed notes, and calendar invites since June 2015 indicating when consumers, businesses, and other organizations’ sought guidance from the ombudsperson.
- Records, including but not limited to emails, phone calls, handwritten or typed notes, and calendar invites since June 2015 indicating when consumers, businesses, and other organizations’ sought guidance from the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau (CGB).
To date, the FCC has only released a small fraction of the documents requested. This is a clear indication that the FCC must delay its Net Neutrality proceeding until all documents requested by NHMC are released. The FCC must then provide NHMC and members of the public adequate time to review and comment on this information before moving forward with its Net Neutrality proceeding.
For interviews with the National Hispanic Media Coalition, please contact Jareyah Bradley at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.