NHMC Encouraged by FCC Chairman’s Remarks on Protecting an Open Internet

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE January 8, 2015

CONTACT Brian Pacheco, NHMC bpacheco@www.nhmc.org 213-718-0732 (m) 626-792-6462 (o

NHMC Encouraged by FCC Chairman’s Remarks on Protecting an Open Internet

Chairman Hints at Title II Reclassification, Ban on Blocking and Pay-for-Play Deals Online

WASHINGTON – On Wednesday, in a public session at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler gave positive remarks about the FCC’s ongoing Open Internet rulemaking proceeding.

Federal Communications Commission Commissioner, Tom Wheeler (Photo: FCC)Chairman Wheeler, for the first time, hinted the FCC is leaning toward implementing Open Internet rules under Title II of the Communications Act. Such rules would enable the FCC to treat Internet Service Providers as common carriers thereby allowing it to prevent unreasonable discrimination and blocking online, while refraining from applying less relevant regulations through a process called forbearance. This approach is favored by the National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) and many other organizations and leaders, including President Barack Obama.

NHMC has long recognized that preserving an Open Internet is one of the foremost civil rights issues in the digital age. For Latinos and other traditionally disadvantaged Americans, the Open Internet is vital for an increasingly large array of reasons, including telling their own stories in light of a mainstream media that excludes these communities or portrays them in a stereotypical manner. Without these rules, nothing will prevent ISPs from ruining the experience of Internet users by slowing down access to their favorite websites or blocking access altogether. In describing the FCC’s process, Chairman Wheeler stated, “…[T]he issue here is how do we make sure that consumers and innovators have open access to networks. That led us to a more robust investigation of the well-established concept of just and reasonable, which is a Title II concept.” Wheeler went on to say, “[W]e’re going to propose rules that say, ‘no blocking, no throttling, no paid prioritization,’ and that there is a yardstick against which behavior should be measured, and that yardstick was ‘just and reasonable.’” Wheeler also confirmed recent reports indicating the Commission will vote on the Open Internet rules at its February 26 open meeting. “Based on Chairman Wheeler’s remarks, the FCC seems a step closer to standing with dozens of Congressional leaders, hundreds of organizations, and millions of people that seek to protect the Open Internet as the incredible platform that it is today, particularly for Latinos and other underrepresented and underserved constituencies,” said NHMC Policy Director, Michael Scurato. “Of course, there is still much work to be done and we are still several weeks from knowing the details of this proposal, which are vitally important.” “NHMC commends the FCC and Chairman Wheeler’s serious examination of Title II as a means to ensuring the Internet remains open,” stated NHMC Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Jessica J. González. “While Chairman Wheeler did not fully delve into which provisions of Title II might apply to broadband providers, I hope the Commission recognizes that many other important policy goals are addressed in Title II — namely, ensuring universal access and adoption of broadband, protecting consumer privacy, and providing access to those with disabilities.” For more information, visit www.nhmc.org/openinternet and read NHMC’s recent articles on its blog and in CQ Roll Call.

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About NHMC

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. Learn more at www.nhmc.org. Receive real-time updates on Facebookand Twitter @NHMC.

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