January 31, 2021
California’s Net Neutrality Win In The Ninth Circuit Is Only The Beginning
A Statement from Brenda Victoria Castillo, President & CEO of the National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC)
On Friday January 28th, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit , upheld the California Internet Consumer Protection and Net Neutrality Act of 2018, or SB-822, which bans any Internet Service Provider (ISP) from blocking, throttling, or slowing data. This allows California to proceed in enforcing net neutrality, which is the idea that ISPs should not control the flow of data through their networks or have control over what consumers access.
NHMC believes that the open internet is essential for Latinx’s ability to tell our own stories, create our own content, participate in the digital economy, and have autonomy over our online experience. While this decision is a win for net neutrality, we must focus on restoring net neutrality at the federal level through the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and legislation to ensure that our community is not vulnerable to censorship, blocking, or discrimination.
The Ninth Circuit held that by classifying broadband internet services as “information services” under Title I of the Communications Act, the FCC no longer had the authority to regulate net neutrality, and could not preempt state action. If the FCC were to adopt rules to classify broadband internet services as “telecommunications services” under Title II of the Communications Act, they would have the authority to regulate net neutrality.
The Trump FCC’s attempts to terminate federal net neutrality protections, has backfired. Therefore, as the Biden-Harris Administration has promised to restore net neutrality, the FCC must label broadband internet services as “telecommunications services” under Title II, and implement net neutrality rules at the federal level.
Access to the internet is too critical for our everyday lives to simply trust that ISPs will do what’s best for our community, and prevent a two-tiered internet ecosystem, where those who are historically and intentionally marginalized will be relegated to “slow lanes.” While the Ninth Circuit’s decision is a victory for California, NHMC will continue to advocate for net neutrality nationwide, as it ensures that network management practices are fair and unbiased.
Yours in the Movement,
Brenda Victoria Castillo
President & CEO
National Hispanic Media Coalition