FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 15, 2015
Brian Pacheco, NHMC
NHMC Statement on Implementation of FCC Open Internet Rules
-- Earlier this year, the National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC), along with hundreds of allies and millions of individuals, applauded
Chairman Tom Wheeler and the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) historic vote to adopt strong yet narrowly-focused rules under Title II of the Communications Act to protect and preserve the Open Internet. The rules are one step closer to protecting consumers after their publication in the Federal Register on Monday. However, recent actions by some in Congress and lawsuits filed by a number of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and their representatives, threaten to jeopardize the popular protections that a vast majority of FCC commenters supported.
Federal Register Publication
On Monday, the FCC's rules were published in the Federal Register. This action represents the next step in the statutorily mandated process that an agency must follow to enact new rules. The rules will take effect on June 12, 2015, 60 days after their publication in the Federal Register. Once the rules go into effect, the FCC can begin to enforce them and protect consumers from certain harmful practices.
Congressional Review Act
Also on Monday, Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) along with 14 congressional Republican co-sponsors, introduced a Resolution of Disapproval that would repeal the FCC's Open Internet rules and prevent the commission from exploring similar rules in the future. To justify the use of this rarely-used congressional mechanism under the Congressional Review Act (CRA), Rep. Collins reverts to a number of debunked
claims that the FCC's rules will negatively impact broadband affordability and deployment.
Other Congressional Action
Other Republican members of Congress have expressed competing visions for legislative action in response to the FCC's rules. Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) recently introduced a bill that would operate similarly to a Resolution of Disapproval and wipe the FCC's rules off the books. In contrast, the Republican leaders of the Senate Commerce Committee and the House Energy and Commerce Committee have recognized a need for certain consumer protections and circulated draft legislation that codify a number of rules designed to protect consumers from a handful of harmful ISP practices. Unfortunately, as NHMC has testified
before Congress, the draft legislation suffers from many fatal flaws that would be a drastic step backwards for consumers, namely by stripping the FCC of nearly all authority to address future broadband policy.
Just hours after the FCC's rules were published in the Federal Register, a number of industry groups filed petitions for review before the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. So far, AT&T, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA), CTIA - The Wireless Association, USTelecom, and the American Cable Association have filed petitions. The petitions challenge the FCC's rules on a number of procedural and constitutional grounds.
The following statement can be attributed to Jessica J. González, executive vice president and general counsel of NHMC:
"Our nation stands at a critical moment for moving civil rights forward for all Americans. Protecting our ability to connect and tell our stories through the open Internet is fundamental for democracy. As Latinos and other historically disadvantaged Americans continue to make progress against discrimination using the Open Internet, the need to safeguard these protections is even more crucial.
"While NHMC continues to celebrate the FCC's historic adoption of common sense rules to protect consumers and looks forward to having rules on the books and a cop on the beat, efforts by a few in Congress and the industry to overwhelm the will of the many are troubling. The fight for these protections must continue and the need for people and our leaders to stand up for the FCC's rules and the Open Internet has never been greater. Congressional action that would invalidate the rules, offer weaker protections, or strip authority from the FCC is an outcome that we cannot accept."
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
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