MinorityCoalition Backs Applying NetRegs to Wireless

The divide
over network neutrality rules between coalitions of groups representing
various minority interests was in evidence again this week as the FCC
collected comments on its proposed expansion
and codification of its Internet openness guidelines.

While the
Minority Media & Telecommunications Council, representing a couple
dozen groups, said it continued to have deep concerns about the rulesand their impact on diversity, the Media Action Grassroots Network and Latinos For
Internet Freedom, comprising about as many groups (including the
National Hispanic Media Coalition [NHMC] and Free Press), told the FCC it
needed to apply those rules to all platforms, including
wireless broadband, to promote diversity.

"As the
comments note, people across the U.S. are using the mobile wireless
Internet to promote social justice and democratic discourse, which is
just one of many reasons why an open Internet without
gatekeepers and discrimination is essential," said Jessica González, VP
of policy and legal affairs for NHMC, which drafted the comments.

The groups
also said that the FCC was right to ask whether network neutrality rules
should be applied to specialized services--they called it a potential
loophole--but they said the FCC should not
weigh in without collecting more info.

Contrast, MMTC called network neutrality rules potentially
draconian regs that were unnecessary given the Internet culture's
ability to shame companies to shame any bad actors into compliance.

Both proponents and
opponents of the FCC's net neuatrality regs have found supporters among
minority organizations. Some argue that the regs could chill investment
and innovation and thus widen the gap between the
digital haves and the have nots, the latter which are
disproporationately minorities. Others argue that the rules will protect
diverse voices from being discriminated against online by gatekeepers
controlling access.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.