Chairman Wheeler's Proposal Still Lacking As Members of Congress Call for Strong Rules
- Today, at its May Open Meeting, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to adopt a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), beginning the formal process to respond to its court loss in Verizon v. FCC.
Prior to and during the meeting, the National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) joined hundreds of people gathered outside of the FCC at a rally calling for strong, enforceable rules to protect the Internet as an open platform for economic growth, civic engagement, and creative expression.
The FCC is launching its formal rulemaking process to respond to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals decision in Verizon v. FCC, which struck down the FCC's 2010 Open Internet Rules preventing Internet Service Providers (ISPs) from blocking or discriminating against content online. For the next four months, the FCC will seek public comment on how best to prevent discrimination or blocking online, whether mobile and wired connections should be subject to the same rules, and whether companies should be allowed to pay for an Internet fast lane to consumers. Chairman Wheeler, while voicing his support for strong Open Internet rules, has expressed his preference for new rules based on legal authority that would require ISPs to be allowed to enter into individualized service negotiations with websites and services - including the possibility of new priority service that would allow certain companies to reach customers by way of an Internet fast lane.
Many have expressed grave concerns about this approach, including dozens of members of Congress, millions of individuals, hundreds of tech and Internet companies
, television content creators
, and well-known artists, actors and musicians
. Late Wednesday, 36 members of the House of Representatives, led by Congressmen Grijalva and Ellison wrote
to FCC leadership to express their opinion that the FCC should reclassify ISPs as common carriers and base new Open Internet rules on the FCC's Title II authority.
The following statement can be attributed to Michael Scurato, policy director for the National Hispanic Media Coalition:
"The last few weeks have been truly extraordinary when it comes to demonstrating the power that can be harnessed when individuals raise their voices and hold their government accountable. And we've already made a difference. Support for strong Open Internet rules that can protect consumers and withstand judicial scrutiny has never been higher. As a result, the process at the FCC has been altered so that we can have this conversation on our own terms. However, as Commissioner Rosenworcel pointed out in her remarks, we know what's past is prologue and the real discussion has just begun. The Chairman, through this process, has put a thumb on the scale in favor of the use of legal authority that has already lost twice in court. Without the proper authority, we can have no rules, and the Internet ecosystem that has benefited consumers, ISPs, and Internet companies alike will devolve into a system controlled by gatekeepers. Everybody who cares about maintaining an Open Internet must continue to make their voices heard at the FCC and in Congress."
NHMC is also asking supporters to submit a comment to the FCC on the open internet proposal, by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information, including an explanation of what's at stake for Latinos, visit www.nhmc.org/openinternet
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 Facebook
and Twitter @NHMC