Grassroots Leaders, Obama Call for “Real Net Neutrality”

*Media Action Grassroots Leaders Available for Comment
Contact: Karlos Schmieder 510-698-3800 x409

Washington, DC - After a month of protests and 4.7 million comments to the FCC, today President Obama came out in strong support of net neutrality and asked the Federal Communications Commission to reclassify the internet as a telecommunications service under Title II authority. “The time has come for the FCC to recognize that broadband service is of the same importance and must carry the same obligations as so many of the other vital services do,” Obama stated, as he called for rules against blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization online.

The Media Action Grassroots Network (MAGNet), representing 175 grassroots organizations working at the intersection of media and poverty, recently rallied at Texas A&M, held a cultural speak out in New York City, mobilized sign-ons to a recent letter, and participated in vigils across the country.

Throughout these events, MAGNet members have highlighted the need for protections for mobile users, a need highlighted by Obama today: “The rules also have to reflect the way people use the Internet today, which increasingly means on a mobile device,” he said. “I believe the FCC should make these rules fully applicable to mobile broadband as well, while recognizing the special challenges that come with managing wireless networks.”

Extending Net Neutrality to mobile broadband protects the Internet’s most vulnerable users. Data by the Pew Research Center indicates that 60% of Latinos and 43% of African Americans mostly access the Internet through a cell phone.  

The following can be attributed to members of the Media Action Grassroots Network:

“In the past year we’ve organized actions with our members in San Antonio, Brooklyn, Oakland, Albuquerque, Philadelphia and Minneapolis in support of REAL net neutrality. Today, the President’s statement affirms what we’ve been asking for: reclassification and protections for cell phone users. ” Dante Barry, Media Action Grassroots Network (Brooklyn, NY)

“Obama is clearly listening to the people across the country, and to all of us in New Mexico. New Mexicans have always fought for our resources—just as we have struggled for our land and water, we have been fighting for the reclassification of the internet, too. For us, achieving true net neutrality is a path to our digital sovereignty." Andrea Quijada, Media Literacy Project (Albuquerque, New Mexico)

“When Chairman Wheeler came to Philadelphia earlier this fall, he heard how important the right to communicate was to poor and working communities – from disability justice advocates and the last black-owned radio station in the state, to rural advocates, taxi drivers, and public access television stations.  It is communities like these who should shape the future of the internet, guaranteeing it as a human right – not big cable companies who put profits before people.” Bryan Mercer, Media Mobilizing Project (Philadelphia, PA)

“As we saw with #pointergate, maintaining equal access to bandwidth is crucial for grassroots organizations to bring the truth of a story to light--and for galvanizing thousands of supporters in response.” Eleonore Wesserle, Line Break Media, (Minneapolis, MN)

"Reclassification of the internet under Title II is a move that will safeguard the internet as a vital resource for our communities. As we struggle for equity in health and education, the internet has become an integral piece of that struggle. President Obama has heard the people, and is listening. We urge the FCC to do the same." Andrea Figueroa, Martinez Street Women's Center (San Antonio, Texas)