Texas Latinos to FCC: No half measures, protect our Internet

For Immediate Release: 10/21/2014
Contact: Karlos Gauna Schmieder - 505 363 4962

College Station, TX - Federal Communications Commissioner Aji Pai came to Texas A&M today for a rare forum outside the beltway as commissioners deliberate Net Neutrality rules. Contrary to the message of some civil rights leaders, Latinos in Texas want their Internet fully protected by Title II network neutrality, say Texas activists and community organizers with the Media Action Grassroots Network who rallied with partners from Free Press before the forum.

“The only way to protect Latinos and communities of color from discrimination on the Internet is through Title II; the proposed alternatives read like half-measures,” says Ernesto Olivo of Local 782, a musician's union in San Antonio. “Like everything in Texas, go big or go home.”

The groups are concerned that Commissioner Pai would give corporations the ability to divide the Internet into slow lanes and fast lanes. They say ‘one Internet, without discrimination’ is what their communities need to thrive.

A majority of Latinos and African Americans use their cell phone for access to the Internet. The current rules proposed by the FCC would not protect these users.  

"Communication is a human right,” says Andrea Figueroa of Martinez Street Women’s Center. “It is vital to our communities, and to our continued struggle for equity. A free and open internet provides an important platform to tell our stories, to join together in solidarity, and to share our creativity. Title II rules are vital to ensuring there is one internet that raises every voice, not just those with the ability to pay for a fast lane."

Commissioner Pai argued for market-based approaches to Net Neutrality rules in today’s forum.

“How is it that de-regulated, free-market policies have brought us the worst consumer Internet service?” rebutted Edward Henigin, CTO of Data Foundry in Texas.

“There are no true competitive broadband markets,” agreed Steven Renderos of Center for Media Justice. “At best we have a choice between bad and worse connection.”

"Net Neutrality is imperative to the accessibility, mobilization, and education of the people,” says Dorian Angulo, Southwest Workers Union. “Equal access and non discriminatory regulations must be apart of the solution. Our voices and our access to information matters. It’s important that we’re here at this panel discussion and that communities of color submit comments during this process to remind our panelists who is most affected by internet rules."

To comment on this issue, members of the public can go to the FCC’s website and click on “Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet 14-28.”