FCC Considers Hybrid Approach to Open Internet: Statement from Media Action Grassroots Network

Contact: Karlos Gauna Schmieder  510-698-3800 x409

Oakland California --- A recent article in the Wall Street Journal revealed that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)  is considering a legally dubious “hybrid” approach to new open Internet rules that would allow some forms of discrimination. Communities of color and low-income families are among the more than 3.7 million people in the United States that have urged the FCC to reclassify broadband as a common carrier, and enforce Title II rules that prevent online censorship and discrimination.

Tracy Rosenberg, Director of MAG-Net Member Media Alliance in Oakland, CA, said, “The courts have already thrown back awkward compromises twice. The third time won’t be the charm. Full reclassification with forbearance is the only proven road to level the playing field on the Internet our communities need."

The following can be attributed to Malkia Cyril, Director of the Center for Media Justice. The Center for Media Justice coordinates the Media Action Grassroots Network, a national alliance of more than 175 community organizations working for media rights, access, and representation.

“More than 100 million people live without adequate access to the Internet, 19 million of whom have no access at all. The vast majority are like our members-- low-income, rural, and communities of color. These communities are among the almost 4 million people in the United States calling for one simple thing: equal representation online by reclassifying broadband as a common carrier.”

“The current “Frankenstein” rules being considered by the FCC offer no winners, threaten equal representation online, and use patchwork logic to allow Internet Service providers to profit from discrimination-- in opposition to President Obama’s clear call to ban all forms of discrimination online. These rules not only threaten opportunity in the most vulnerable communities, but the economic future of the nation as a whole, by leading the nation into uncharted waters with unclear legal and political consequences.  It’s time for the White House to the inequality gap in America by protecting Internet users from discrimination."

“In the coming weeks, the FCC will have to decide whether to listen to President Obama, and the 4 million people whose voices have been raised for clear, crisp, and clean reclassification of broadband; or to cater to a handful of lawyers and lobbyists debating the future of the Internet behind closed doors. As an agency with a mandate to protect the public interest, we at the Media Action Grassroots Network urge the Commission to keep their eyes on the prize of real network neutrality, grounded in Title II authority.”

“We join with allies like Free Press,,, the National Hispanic Media Coalition,, Fight for the Future, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and the members of MAG-Net to urge the Commission to reclassify broadband as a common carrier-- and protect our communities from Internet discrimination; for real, and for good.