since 2004

Open Internet is Crucial for Equity, Opportunity, Innovation

In information access, media justice, net neutrality, open access, racial justice on January 15, 2010 at 7:13 am

I definitely recommend reading this important brief filed by a broad coalition of racial justice and information freedom groups, including my organizational alma mater. Background:

January 15, 2010 – In an historic day for the Federal Communications Commission and the Internet, the Media Action Grassroots Network, ColorofChange.org, Presente.org, Applied Research Center, Afro-Netizen, National Association of Hispanic Journalists, Native Public Media and Rural Broadband Policy Group submitted a range of grassroots stories and comments from urban, rural and struggling sub-urban communities in response to the Commission’s notice of proposed rule making “In the Matter of Preserving the Open Internet and Broadband Industry Practices.”

The groups’ comments speak to the urgent need for an open and free Internet for low to no income, rural, Native American, African American and Latino communities.

“Like telephones, the Internet is increasingly an essential part of everyone’s daily lives,” says Malkia Cyril, Executive Director of Center for Media Justice, which coordinates the Media Action Grassroots Network (MAGNet). “Ensuring strong rules to keep the Internet free and open for communities in the midst of a widening digital divide is fundamental to a vibrant and representative democracy, and cultural and human rights.”

The groups say without strong “Net Neutrality” rules to keep content on the Internet accessible to all, communities most in need may end up “virtually redlined” from of the innovation and opportunity that springs from a free and open Internet.

“In a democratic society, every idea must have a chance to flourish and all people should be able to access legal content equally and without fear of foul play,” says Amalia Deloney, MAGNet coordinator. “People use [the Internet] to find jobs, access health services, obtain education resources, advocate for representation, increase connection, and its an important tool to build strong and healthy communities in low-income neighborhoods of color.”

The groups’ comments can be found online here.

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  1. Thanks, for posting the Comments in response to the Commission’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in In the Matter of Preserving the Open Internet, Broadband Industry Practices.
    The internet fosters public participation, provides cultural choices and encourages educational opportunities when there is unlimited access to the internet. Access to the Internet, is an essential service and necessary for a variety of economical, social, and political purposes. Within a competitive market there are economic incentives for Internet Service Providers to favour their own content over competing services. In 2005, Telus a Canadian Internet Provider blocked access to a Web site. This website publicized the union’s views about its dispute with Telus. The Telus incident demonstrated Canadians and Americans are at risk of not having content neutrality.

    See Opennet Bulletin http://opennet.net/bulletins/010/ONI-010-telus.

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