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Congresswoman Waters: FCC net neutrality rules could especially harm people of color

December 27, 2010

by Congresswoman Maxine Waters

Congresswoman Maxine Waters is the strongest, most effective advocate for Blacks and other people of color and oppressed people in Congress today. – Photo:
Washington, D.C. – While I commend the FCC for approving network neutrality rules that prohibit broadband providers from blocking consumer access to legal web content, I am very concerned that the rules do not go far enough to honor the principles of net neutrality as previously articulated by this administration and FCC. Although the new rules bar fixed broadband internet providers from “unreasonable discrimination” against web traffic, they exempt mobile broadband providers – leaving millions without critical consumer protections and leading to a fractured Internet.

At the beginning of the year, I wrote the FCC, supporting its efforts to establish sensible guidelines to ensure that the Internet remains an open and vibrant platform for creativity and innovation. Unfortunately, in the year since the commission set an agenda to adopt net neutrality rules, confusion and misinformation have overshadowed its original intent.

I am concerned that the rules adopted Dec. 21 are insufficient and harmful to many American consumers, reflecting immense pressure on the FCC from the telecommunications industry and Congressional Republicans, who by and large oppose any open Internet policies,.

According to the Pew Internet and American Life Project’s Mobile Access 2010 report, “Minority Americans lead the way when it comes to mobile access – especially mobile access using handheld devices,” and currently “two-thirds of African-Americans and [English-speaking] Latinos are wireless internet users.” Another study from Pew and Nielsen indicates that many low wealth individuals and people of color use their cell phones as their only point of Internet access, including 18 percent of African Americans, 16 percent of English-speaking Latinos and 17 percent of people earning under $30,000 per year.

The rules approved by the FCC would not protect these communities if a wireless broadband service provider decides to block any application or service that is not a voice/video communications service. In effect, consumers of color, who are more dependent on wireless broadband to access the Internet, would have less governmental protection than Americans who can afford both wired and wireless connections.

Policies and decisions made now will influence significantly the future media landscape of our country. Therefore, I strongly urge the FCC to reconsider all the facts and make the Internet and other media services fair for everyone as it addresses not only net neutrality but also the impending merger of Comcast Corp. and NBC Universal.

Contact Congresswoman Maxine Waters at 2344 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington DC 20515, phone (202) 225-2201, fax (202) 225-7854, website

2 thoughts on “Congresswoman Waters: FCC net neutrality rules could especially harm people of color

  1. Brett Glass

    Perhaps, rather than marching in partisan lockstep, the good Congresswoman should learn the truth: ANY rules of the type that the FCC passed are bad for minorities and bad for the country. The Internet has flourished without regulation for more than a quarter of a century, and the proposed regulations would not be beneficial to it. Rather, they’re intended to be beneficial to large corporations that want to get a leg up via the regulation. In this particular case, it’s Google, the multi-billion dollar corporation with multiple Internet monopolies that give nearly a million dollars to Obama. Those contributions bought the regulations just passed by the FCC. (They also bought Google multiple positions in the Administration. Shortly after the election, Obama – who had pledged not to hire lobbyists – hired Google’s CHIEF lobbyist into a high ranking advisory position in the White House, and put two other Google executives on advisory boards.)

    The regulations just passed by the FCC would be great for Google; they’d protect its monopolies. But they’d be terrible for the public. They’d make your Internet service slower and more expensive, kill jobs, deter innovation, hinder investment and broadband deployment. All of which would harm minorities. So, why is the Congresswoman for them? Perhaps because the current President, who is of her party, is for them? Next month, the House of Representatives is slated to consider a Resolution of Disapproval which will overturn the damaging Google regulations. Hopefully, the good Congresswoman will have the presence of mind to recognize corruption and stand against it by voting in favor of the resolution.

  2. TheObamaDeception

    Brett Glass, excellent… Ditto!

    Congresswoman Waters should also DEFEND HERSELF -and other Black pols- against the Hoover/COINTELPRO OCE kangeroo court, by voting with the republicans to ABOLISH it!

    The reactionary right wing, corporate “liberals” are already quaking in there boots:

    The Charlie Rangel Effect

    Will black Democrats join with Republicans to kill the congressional ethics office that investigated the veteran lawmaker?

    Republicans Heart Ethics Reform?

    I doubt this will happen but I long for the day that Black people vote our interest, instead of what the massas of the democratic plantation wants.


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