STATEMENT OF MMTC ON THE PRESIDENT’S OPEN INTERNET ANNOUNCEMENT

by mmtcbbsj on November 10, 2014

President Obama and Chairman WheelerWASHINGTON, D.C. (November 10, 2014):  The Minority Media and Telecommunications Council (MMTC) applauds the goal of this morning’s Presidential Statement on Net Neutrality. MMTC continues to support open Internet principles that will prevent blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization, as well as offering increased transparency to consumers. MMTC recently joined with other national civil rights organizations to support an approach that will protect the open Internet while also achieving investment, infrastructure deployment, and universal adoption for all Americans.

Regulation under Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act, coupled with an EEOC-derived, expedited, consumer-friendly “probable cause” enforcement mechanism recommended by nearly four dozen national civil rights organizations in Comments with the FCC, is a superior approach that would provide a solid foundation from which to ensure an open Internet while allowing some flexibility and room for experimentation in services and business models as the economy develops. Section 706 regulation would achieve all of the goals of Title II reclassification, but would do so in a way that avoids the uncertainty of forbearance proceedings and without creating disincentives to infrastructure investment. Less investment would translate into less deployment, fewer jobs for our communities, and fewer service options to boost broadband adoption and close the digital divide.

Chairman Wheeler’s statement this afternoon addressing the President’s remarks commendably made it clear that the FCC, as the independent and expert agency, is mindful of the unintended consequences of far-reaching regulations. Underscoring this concern, last month the Alliance for Excellent Education and the LEAD Commission published a study by Dr. John Horrigan demonstrating that schools populated with the children of low-income families receive much slower broadband speeds than other schools. The study found that, compared to more affluent students, 12.3 percent of all low-income students either lack access to the highest speed tier or are overrepresented in the lowest speed tier. The FCC should avoid rules that will discourage investment and innovation, and instead create investment incentives that will ensure the underserved will receive state-of-the-art broadband, no matter where they live, or how much or how little income they make.

MMTC President and CEO Kim Keenan declared, “We need net neutrality, and we also need net equality. While MMTC stands with the President in striving for an open Internet, we will continue to press our case for Section 706 regulation enhanced by expedited consumer protection mechanisms such as those used successfully for 50 years by the EEOC.”

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About MMTC:

The Minority Media and Telecommunications Council (MMTC) is a non-partisan, 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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