Communities of color call on FCC to apply network neutrality rules to wireless networks

Media Action Grassroots Network:

In comments filed today with the Federal Communications Commission, almost thirty organizations, including Reclaim the Media, members of Latinos for Internet Freedom and the Media Action Grassroots Network (MAG-Net), called on the agency to apply Network Neutrality rules to all Internet access platforms, including on wireless networks.

People of color are among the fastest growing constituencies in the United States and the most active users of the mobile Internet and many rely exclusively on their cell phones and other mobile devices to get online. Communities of color use their mobile devices as a primary tool for activism, community engagement and democratic participation, from defending the rights of immigrants to registering to vote.

"Enforceable and effective rules across all Internet access platforms are necessary to ensure digital equity, promote economic development and jobs in communities of color, and to protect vulnerable consumers and constituencies from online discrimination," said Amalia Deloney, Policy Director at Center for Media Justice. "An open Internet is really an open for business sign for poor, rural and communities of color."

Communities of color would be adversely affected if the Commission fails to extend open Internet protections to mobile wireless Internet access.

"The National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) was pleased to craft these comments on behalf of two broad coalitions representing the interests of communities of color, the poor and people living in rural places," said Jessica González, Vice President of Policy and Legal Affairs for NHMC. "As the comments note, people across the U.S. are using the mobile wireless Internet to promote social justice and democratic discourse, which is just one of many reasons why an open Internet without gatekeepers and discrimination is essential."

The groups also expressed concern that "specialized" services could threaten the future of an open Internet, and called on the FCC to open up a separate proceeding to examine the issue.

Latinos for Internet Freedom is a coalition of local, regional and national Latino organizations and leaders who have come together to protect free speech rights online and to keep the Internet open and free from discrimination.

The Media Action Grassroots Network is a national initiative launched by some of the country's most dynamic regional organizations to provide an infrastructure for grassroots media activists organizations.

National and local organizations represented in this filing included: Access Humboldt; Center for Community Change; Center for Media Justice; Center for Rural Strategies; Chicago Media Action; Esperanza Peace and Justice Center; Free Press; Main Street Project; Media Justice League; Media Literacy Project; Media Mobilizing Project; MN Center for Neighborhood Organizing; National Association of Latino Farmers and Ranchers; National Hispanic Media Coalition; National Network of Immigrant and Refugee Rights; National Radio Project; New York Community Media Alliance; Open Access Connections/Twin Cities Community Voicemail; People's Press Project; PODER/People Organizing to Demand Environmental & Economic Rights; Presente.org; Progressive Technology Project; Reclaim the Media; Rural Coalition; Thousand Kites; Twitteros; Voz Mob/IDEPSCA; and Waite House.

The full comment can be read here.

article originally published at Media Action Grassroots Network.

The media's job is to interest the public in the public interest. -John Dewey