FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Two FCC Commissioners, Hundreds of Internet Companies, Dozens of Investors Join Public Interest Organizations, Millions of Petition Signers and Internet Users Concerned With Threat to the Vitality of the Internet
WASHINGTON – Yesterday, new voices joined a growing outcry over Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler’s proposed open Internet rules. FCC Commissioners Jessica Rosenworcel and Mignon Clyburn publicly expressed concerns about the proposal. Further, over 100 leading Internet companies sent a letter to FCC leadership expressing “support for a free and open Internet.” The FCC is scheduled to vote on this proposal on May 15. According to various reports, Chairman Wheeler’s proposal would explore ways to allow companies to pay extra for an Internet fast lane to consumers. In addition, the proposed rules call for treating wired home broadband and mobile broadband differently, exposing mobile users, including many Latinos and African Americans who rely on mobile devices as their primary means of access to Internet, to potentially harmful practices. The Chairman has based his proposal on legal authority that is not sufficient to prevent discrimination online. The National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) has long contended that open Internet rules that include a paid fast lane would not achieve true net neutrality. Further, wired and wireless access should be subject to the same rules of the road, and that the FCC should classify internet service providers as common carrier, telecommunications services to take advantage of its legal authority over such services. Commissioner Rosenworcel remarked that she had “real concerns” about the proposal and its consideration process after recognizing that the Chairman’s proposal “unleashed a torrent of public response.” Commissioner Rosenworcel expressed that consideration of the proposal should be delayed to allow for more public dialogue. In a blog post, Commissioner Clyburn reasserted views shared in an earlier proceeding that wired and wireless access should be subject to the same rules; that pay-for-priority arrangements should be prohibited; that the rules be free of loopholes; and that the FCC explore other legal authority as a basis for its rules. In a letter to the Commission filed yesterday, over 100 Internet companies, large and small, including Google, Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo, Microsoft, and LinkedIn, urged the FCC to consider rules that “protect users and Internet companies on both fixed and mobile platforms against blocking, discrimination, and paid prioritization,” and “make the market for Internet services more transparent.” In addition, a group of 50 investors filed a letter to the FCC urging it to ensure a free and open Internet that The following statement can be attributed to Michael Scurato, policy director at NHMC: “There is a large and growing chorus of concern over the troubling contents of the FCC’s proposed rules. The rules would open the door to Internet fast lanes for those who can afford it — and create a new gatekeeper for the rest of us, as well as a different Internet experience depending on whether you are using a computer plugged into the wall or a mobile device. Commissioner Clyburn and Commissioner Rosenworcel offer much-needed leadership to the public discourse, as do Internet companies, online content producers, and many others who have spoken out against this proposal. However, the work is not nearly finished. People across the country should continue to share their thoughts with the FCC and urge it to change course and propose real open Internet rules that protect everyone in the Internet ecosystem, and preserve the Internet as an important platform for economic opportunity, civic engagement, and artistic expression.” To submit a comment to the FCC on the open internet proposal, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, including an explanation of what’s at stake for Latinos, visit www.nhmc.org/openinternet.