Community Organizations Say Proposed Net Neutrality Rules Will Help Close Equity Gap

For Immediate Release
Contact: Steven Renderos, National Organizer 646-276-7544

According to an article Chairman Wheeler penned in Wired Magazine, the proposed net neutrality rules would reclassify the Internet as a Title II service under the Communications Act. Those rules, he says, will keep the Internet “fast, fair, and open”, and will protect all users, whether they access the Internet from a tablet, a phone, or a computer.  The rules will be voted on at the FCC’s next public meeting, scheduled for February 26th.

“Today's proposed rules are a critical step in the process of closing the economic, educational, and other racial equity gaps that disadvantage communities of color.  The 175 grassroots organizations in the Media Action Grassroots Network are committed to tackling these divides. We applaud Chairman Wheeler’s proposal to ground strong net neutrality rules in Title II authority.” Steven Renderos, National Organizer, Center for Media Justice (Los Angeles, CA)

"When we and dozens of other media and movement leaders met with Chairman Wheeler in Philadelphia last fall, he heard again and again that low income communities need strong net neutrality to protect their voices.  Here in Comcast's hometown, we know it is vitally important that our voices are louder than telecommunications companies and their lobbying dollars.  Thank you Chairman Wheeler for listening to millions of people who need a just communications system - now and in the future.” Bryan Mercer, Co-Executive Director, Media Mobilizing Project (Philadelphia, PA)

“Communities of color have traditionally been victims of digital redlining because Internet providers have been unwilling to provide high quality service in our neighborhoods.  The proposal on the table would prevent redlining and ensure that Internet access is the same in East Oakland and Salinas as it is in Palo Alto and Sunnyvale.” Stephanie Chen, Telecommunications Policy Director, Greenlining Institute (San Francisco, CA)

"Folks throughout rural America thank Chairman Wheeler for listening to us and acting upon our concern.  The evidence is in: rural communities will not have access to high speed broadband unless the Internet is re-classified as a Title II service and the principles of universal affordable access are applied no matter where you live." Mimi Pickering, Director of Community Media Initiative, Appalshop (Whitesburg, KY)

"While we should applaud Chairman Wheeler's leadership, we must remember that what he is protecting is the essence of a technology created by the collaborative work of people worldwide to benefit the billions of people who use it to communicate their truth, their thinking and their actions. Those who use the Internet are the true champions here -- they have made it a force for collaboration and truth that is unprecedented in human history and is proving impossible to repress. We now call on the FCC to approve the Chairman's proposals, on the affected corporations like Comcast to accept them, and on the Congress to do nothing to derail them." Alfredo Lopez, Leadership Committee, May First/People Link (Brooklyn, NY)

"To meet the local needs and interests of diverse communities including rural America, we need universal access to open networks. So we applaud Chair Wheeler's proposal for clear rules to ensure net neutrality" Sean McLaughlin, Executive Director, Access Humboldt (Eureka, CA)

“We applaud Chairman Wheeler’s decision to ensure equal access for all consumers,  we need to ensure that the internet remains affordable, reliable and that consumers have strong consumer protections and Title II is essential to achieve these goals.” Ana Montes, The Utility Reform Network (California - Statewide)

“We applaud Chairman Wheeler in his decision to preserve and protect the internet as a vital resource.  The open internet and flow of information are essential to our communities in the continuing struggle to achieve empowerment, equity, and justice. Thank you Chairman Wheeler.” Andrea Figueroa, Program Director, Martinez Street Women’s Center (San Antonio, TX)

The 175 organizations of the Media Action Grassroots Network look forward to reviewing the specific language of the proposed rules before fully evaluating its impact.  What remains paramount is that all communities, regardless of race or income, have an equal voice on the most democratic and decentralized communications technology the world has ever known.