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Copps Counsels Civil Rights Groups to Support FCC's Open Internet Proceeding

FCC Commissioner Michael Copps is counseling civil rights groups to stand together in support of the FCC's Open Internet proceeding.

Copps said Wednesday (March 3) that nobody would benefit more from that proceeding than "those who have suffered lack of opportunity for generations." He was speaking at a Joint Center Media and Technology Policy Forum in Wasington.

There has been some division in the minority community over the impact of network  neutrality--Copps calls that an "inelegant" term--on the digital divide. Some groups have expressed concern that codifying and expanding the FCC's network openness guidelines could discourage the kind of investment that will get broadband to underserved areas that area disproporationately minority.

Another school of thinking, championed by Copps' fellow Democratic Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, holds that openness benefits entrepreneurs and protects equality of access to the lifeline of broadband.

"It would be a lost opportunity of historic and tragic proportion for diversity groups and civil rights organizations to join forces, even inadvertently, with those whose endgame has nothing to do with creating the kind of open and transparent networks the country needs," said Copps. " This is the time for those who believe in expanding opportunity to pull together, not to pull apart."