National Minority Organizations Want an Open Internet with Everyone Online

by Maria Lesinski on September 18, 2014

Internet OpenIn response to the FCC’s ongoing solicitation for feedback on how to preserve an open Internet, 45 leading civil rights organizations came together to file Reply Comments in the Open Internet proceeding. In the debate over how the FCC should regulate the Internet, the National Minority Organizations respond that open Internet rules, crafted under the Commission’s Section 706 authority in combination with a consumer-focused enforcement scheme modeled after Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, is the best way to protect an open Internet while advancing necessary initiatives to close the digital divide.

This coalition of many of the most distinguished and respected national civil rights and minority-serving organizations that represent millions of constituents assert the need for smart public policy that is focused on promoting broadband adoption among vulnerable populations and facilitating a level of regulatory certainty that has cultivated today’s thriving and expanding Internet ecosystem.

The contemporary Internet thrives under a light-touch regulatory framework that has encouraged consumer engagement, innovation, investment, and digital experimentation. In the filing, the National Minority Organizations reiterate their unwavering support for preserving this ecosystem, while urging the Commission to craft public policies that will protect consumers and encourage universal broadband access, adoption, and proficient use.

Moreover, the coalition urges the FCC to employ Section 706 authority as the best way forward. Compared to a Title II regulatory framework, Section 706 would be well suited to achieve the Commission’s core goals: transparency, no blocking, no slow and fast lanes due to a strong presumption against paid prioritization, and the opportunity for “commercially reasonable” business model experimentation.

Finally, the National Minority Organizations propose that Section 706 regulatory authority be coupled with a consumer-friendly complaint process modeled after Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act to establish an accessible, affordable, and expedited procedure for resolution of complaints.

The full filing is available here.

The Minority Media and Telecommunications Council (MMTC) is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting and preserving equal opportunity and civil rights in the mass media, telecommunications and broadband industries, and closing the digital divide. MMTC is generally recognized as the nation’s leading advocate for minority advancement in communications.

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