Earlier this week, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Network Neutrality policies that would preserve the open Internet on all wired and wireless networks. While the battle is far from over, this was a positive step forward for grassroots groups who partnered with the Media and Democracy Coalition to collect signatures in support of network neutrality from 40 grassroots groups representing communities of color, low-income communities, and other historically marginalized communities from across the U.S.
Read the coalition’s letter.
…It is well documented that people of color and low-income individuals are among the least-connected segments of the U.S. population. In 2009, 46% of African Americans had broadband at home, and only 35% of households with incomes $20,000 and under had access, compared to the national average of 63% of adult Americans. That means millions of African Americans and low income individuals fail to get jobs that their connected neighbors get; their children struggle more to complete their homework; and their voices are not heard as loudly in important civic debates. The very real divides between race and class in U.S. society continue to be perpetuated on the Internet.
[snip]…We are also steadfast in our support for efforts at the FCC that would prevent Internet Service Providers (ISPs) from discriminating content on the Internet. These network neutrality rules are needed for people of color and low income individuals to be creators of Internet content that is relevant to their communities, not just consumers of content that is profitable for big cable and phone companies.