Historic Victory Paves Way for Full Latino Participation on the Internet
FCC Adopts Strongest Open Internet Rules to Date, Reclassifies Broadband Internet Access Service as a Telecommunications Service
National Hispanic Media Coalition (February 26, 2015)
The NHMC Policy Team (l. to r.):
Michael Scurato, Alex Nogales and Jessica Gonzalez
WASHINGTON – The National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) commended the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) historic vote today to adopt strong Net Neutrality rules that use the FCC’s authority under Title II to prohibit blocking, throttling and paid prioritization online. In a standing-room-only open meeting, the FCC adopted the strongest Open Internet rules that it has ever put forth, implementing the light-touch regulations that more than 4 million people and countless civil rights leaders have advocated.
«This is a historic day. As people of color we have come to rely on the Open Internet to educate ourselves, organize for social change, engage in the political process and push back against a history of discrimination and exclusion in traditional media. I applaud the FCC majority for sifting through the nonsense arguments of a few Internet service providers and their massive team of lobbyists and siding with the American people for a truly Open Internet,» said NHMC’s Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Jessica J. González.
The adoption of these rules is not only a historic moment for preserving the openness of the nation’s communications networks, but a historic victory won by NHMC and countless allies after nearly 10 years of sustained advocacy.
Last year, the D.C. Circuit Court struck down the FCC’s first attempt to craft Open Internet rules in Verizon v. FCC, based on the legal authority the FCC had utilized. However, the court recognized the value and need for Open Internet rules and laid out reclassification under Title II as a viable path to sustain such rules.
Shortly thereafter, NHMC and a coalition of civil rights groups, netroots and grassroots organizers, startups and innovative companies and investors, and some of the sharpest legal and political minds in the country initiated a campaign calling for the FCC to craft new Open Internet rules under Title II of the Communications Act, seeking strong, legally sustainable rules to prevent discrimination online and ensure the future of the Internet would be controlled by the people, not corporate gatekeepers. During this time, NHMC worked in close collaboration with its allies in the Voices for Internet Freedom Coalition, including Free Press, ColorOfChange.org, the Media Action Grassroots Network, Presente.org and many others.
As a result of this unprecedented movement, millions of people were mobilized to stand up for their Internet rights, weighing in with key decision-makers in Washington, D.C. and contributing to the most extensive record ever compiled by the FCC in its history. Through countless meetings, regulatory filings, congressional testimony, blog posts, op-eds, discussion panels, briefings and rallies across the country NHMC and its allies built momentum and support in Washington, D.C., culminating in President Barack Obama’s announcement in support of Net Neutrality in November 2014.
Today’s vote marks the FCC’s second attempt at implementing Open Internet rules, but the first time the rules are grounded in the FCC’s legally sustainable Title II authority.
«We believe that this step addresses any limitations that past classification decisions placed on our ability to adopt strong Open Internet rules,» the FCC wrote in a Fact Sheet published ahead of the vote.
«Today the FCC embraced the authority given to it by Congress and firmly established itself as the ‘cop on the beat’ in the broadband era. Beyond that, it has taken great care to prevent second-class digital citizenship, and NHMC pledges to follow up every step of the way to ensure that this decision leads to unbridled, affordable and universal broadband access,» added NHMC’s Policy Director, Michael Scurato. «NHMC is especially pleased the rules apply equally to mobile broadband because people of color disproportionately rely on mobile devices as their primary Internet access points.»
Latinos benefit economically, educationally and politically from an Open Internet with limited gatekeeper interference. NHMC was one of the very first civil rights organizations to join the open Internet fight. For almost a decade NHMC has urged the FCC to reclassify broadband Internet access under Title II because it is the best way to ensure Latinos are able to share their unique stories and take advantage of all the opportunities the web has to offer.
To learn more about NHMC’s Open Internet advocacy, visit http://www.nhmc.org/
The National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) is a media advocacy and civil rights organization for the advancement of Latinos, working towards a media that is fair and inclusive of Latinos, and towards universal, affordable, and open access to communications. Learn more at www.nhmc.org. Receive real-time updates on Facebook and Twitter @NHMC.
Brian Pacheco, NHMC