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"Reel Grrls is a Seattle nonprofit that teaches video production to girls. A few years ago there was an FCC media ownership hearing in Seattle, attended by a ton of people, including many Reel Grrls participants; in fact, one produced an award-winning film about the issue . This time around, many girls couldn’t make it to these open Internet events. Several were interested but busy. One girl, however, said that she had been to the ownership hearing a few years ago, and that nothing had changed as a result—so why
bother? That girl is 17 years old and she’s already that cynical. That’s not okay. So that’s my challenge to the FCC: make this change."
-- Nickey Robare, Reel Grrls, speaking to the FCC on preserving a fair and open Internet, Seattle 27 April 2010Read more.
"I've been watching digital divide issues as they relate to extremely low income and homeless people, who are not protected by USF. Our company is trying to get basic voice service to these populations. We've all been hearing a lot about net neutrality. My comments are simple: the FCC has the opportunity to reclassify broadband Internet as a Title II telecommunications service, not an information service. The FCC should boldly take that move. There is broad support for that happening – and it will be extremely difficult to get done what we are talking about if that doesn't occur. In this community you have support for that. It’s extremely difficult to purchase services that no one else will provide, and if these basic regulations didn’t exist, it would be impossible."
--Jennifer Brandon, Executive Director, Community Voicemail National, speaking to the FCC about preserving a fair and open Internet, Seattle 27 April 2010Read more.
"I'm a former Americorps volunteer IT person, working at the STAR Center for people with disabilities. We are very aware of the digital divide, which is worsening as high-speed access is becoming a necessity. Low income access is nearly impossible; young people are required to send homework over the Internet, people with disabilities need special equipment for online access, whicih can be very expensive. Seattle has free 56k wireless access in some areas, though it's not enough—slow and often busy.Read more.
Thanks to everyone who participated in the Seattle FCC Open Internet events this week. About 80 people attended Reclaim the Media's community forum with FCC staff on Tuesday evening, and about 70 took part in the Wednesday morning workshop at the Federal Building. Soon we'll have a summary of the events, as well as some photos from Tuesday.Read more.
Reclaim the Media
SEATTLE - On April 27, a national coalition of social justice and media advocacy organizations delivered to the Federal Communications Commission an open letter urging chairman Julius Genachowski to act quickly to reassert the agency's authority to regulate broadband in the public interest. The letter comes in the wake of a federal appeals court decision which dealt a blow to that authority, and at a time when the FCC is in the midst of a broad range of policymaking activities focused on improving and broadening the Internet experience for millions of Americans.
The letter, signed by thirty-four national and regional organizations affiliated or allied with the Media Action Grassroots Network, points out that persistent digital divides continue to threaten the economic and political well being of communities of color, and that these communities have particular need for protection against telecommunications providers who have historically been unwilling to prioritize equal service for all communities, despite a deregulated economic environment and often massive profits.Read more.
Media Action Grassroots Network et al.
This week, Reclaim the Media's national coalition, the Media Action Grassroots Network (MAG-Net) joined with dozens of civil rights organizations across the country, in urging the Federal Communications Commission to preserve open Internet policies and reassert its authority to protect consumer and citizen rights online.
Read more for a summary and complete text of the comments filed this week. National organizations joining the comments include the Applied Research Center, Color of Change, Presente, the National Hispanic Media Coalition, the Mational Association of Hispanic Journalists, Native Public Media and the Rural Broadband Coalition. Washington State organizations supporting MAG-Net's digital justice call for open Internet rules include Reclaim the Media, the ACLU of Washington, the Seattle Minority Executive Directors Coalition, One America, KBCS, the Youth Media Institute, WashPIRG, Washington Bus, Hidmo Eritrean Cuisine, Common Language Project, Ozya, Reel Grrls, Hollow Earth Radio, Sustainable Ballard, NOW Seattle, Community Alliance & Peacemaking Project, Community Alliance for Global Justice, Langston Hughes Film Festival, and Newground Social Investment.Read more.
Jay Inslee, Seattle Times
The Internet, arguably the fastest world-changing invention since the Gutenberg printing press, has become the core of our social and business lives. However, the openness and freedom that lie at the heart of the Internet's success is under threat.
A recent federal court ruling determined that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) does not have the authority to regulate Internet service providers to prevent them from restricting access to the Internet. Put simply, service providers would have the power to control the pipes that deliver content to consumers and with it the ability to play favorites or discriminate against bits of data.Read more.
This week, Seattle will get our chance to weigh in on the future of broadband in the US, as the FCC returns to Seattle with a pair of events focused on preserving an open Internet.
On Tuesday evening, Apr 27, FCC staff will be featured guests at a community conversation on open Internet and net neutrality, hosted by Reclaim the Media along with Hidmo, KBCS Community Radio and the NW Media Action Grassroots Network. The event, Speaking Up for a Fair and Open Internet, takes place 6:30-8:30pm at Asian Counseling and Referral Service, 3639 Martin Luther King Way in Seattle.
Then, at 9:30am on Weds. Apr. 28, the FCC will hold an official workshop on Preserving the Open Internet, downtown at the Federal Building. Both events are free and open to the public.
Want to come to one event but not both? The Tuesday evening event will offer far better opportunities to speak and interact with FCC staff and other featured guests; the focus of the event will be talking together about Internet policy and how it connects with related issues including social equality, education, economic development, social equality, and communications rights.Read more.
Today the FCC announced the roster of expert panelists speaking at the April 28 open Internet workshop in Seattle. The public workshop will take place at 9:30am at the Federal Building in downtown Seattle. While attendees will be allowed to pose questions or comments only through written notecards, the workshop will also be streamed online, where viewers will be invited to comment via Twitter.
Panelists will include Seattle Chief Technology Officer Bill Schrier, and net neutrality opponent Carl Gipson from the Washington Policy Center, as well as academic researchers and corporate representatives. The public interest sphere will be represented by Gigi Sohn from the DC-based nonprofit Public Knowledge.Read more.
Spot.us is expanding its coverage to Seattle, currently soliciting support for three Seattle-focused stories to be researched and written by independent journalists, The project, launched a couple years ago in San Francisco by David Cohn, uses an innovative community-funded model for investigative journalism. With the help of independent journalists and readers, Spot.us identifies news stories that need to be researched and reported--then sets a reporting budget and solicits contributions to fund the reporting.Read more.