One year ago today, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) repealed the 2015 Open Internet Order, which contained net neutrality consumer protections. The agency claimed that the repeal would stimulate broadband deployment and, in turn, increase broadband access. Bright-line net neutrality rules prevented Internet Service Providers (ISPs) from slowing down, blocking, and censoring content – practices that have a disproportionate and discriminatory impact on Latino voices and other marginalized communities.
The National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) released the following statement from Francella Ochillo, Vice President of Policy and General Counsel:
“Net neutrality is essential to preserving the Internet as an open platform where Latinos can compete for business opportunities, utilize educational tools, engage in authentic storytelling, and organize for social justice without gatekeepers standing in the way. The FCC ignored overwhelming public support for these consumer protections, providing corporations like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T with its blessing to exploit communities that have little to no choice in how they get Internet service. Still, one year later, promises of increased broadband deployment remain unfulfilled and the cost of Internet in underserved communities continues to rise.”
Since the net neutrality repeal, there have been numerous instances of throttling by big telecom companies. Approximately 30 states have introduced net neutrality legislation and others have used executive orders to protect consumers. NHMC, alongside civil rights groups, companies, and more than 20 states filed suit earlier this year seeking judicial review.
In May 2017, the Senate voted in favor of a Congressional Review Act (CRA) to overturn the FCC’s decision. Civil rights groups and digital rights activists continue to focus on protecting the open internet in the House where there is still time and momentum to reverse the net neutrality repeal. Currently, 180 Representatives have signed the discharge petition which would not only restore net neutrality rules, but prevent the FCC from revisiting this issue in the future.
NHMC released the following statement from Daiquiri Ryan, Policy Counsel:
“Today’s anniversary reminds us that there’s still work to be done to secure and protect digital rights for Latinos. For an agency charged with ensuring that all Americans have access to modern communications, the FCC’s actions in the last year have crippled consumer choice and freedom online. Not only did the Commission dismiss millions of comments opposing the repeal, it also reluctantly revealed Russian interference in the net neutrality proceeding’s comment collection. Despite the FCC’s best efforts, Americans still overwhelmingly support net neutrality and are mobilizing to urge the House to sign the CRA before Congress adjourns.”