Wednesday, November 15, 2023
Benton Institute for Broadband & Society Applauds Historic Equal Access Rules
Today, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted a Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to establish a framework to facilitate equal access to broadband internet access service by preventing digital discrimination of access. The following statement may be attributed to Benton Senior Counselor Andrew Jay Schwartzman:
"With respect to broadband, our nation has had a hard time fulfilling the mandate of Section 1 of the Communications Act to ensure that all Americans have access to telecommunications services 'without discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, or sex....' Among other things, some internet service providers have redlined many neighborhoods and ignored the needs of large geographic sections of the country.
"In 2021, by a bipartisan vote, Congress gave the FCC new powers to make that promise a reality. Today’s vote adopts historic rules defining and enforcing a clear prohibition on digital discrimination. Importantly, the FCC also proposes new recordkeeping and reporting requirements to make sure that ISPs comply with the law.
"The aggressive pushback from some telecommunications companies and their antiregulatory allies was hardly a surprise, and we can also expect them to take these rules to court. The FCC and supporters of universal broadband stand ready to make sure these important rules are allowed to do what Congress intended."
The Benton Institute for Broadband & Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring that all people in the U.S. have access to competitive, High-Performance Broadband regardless of where they live or who they are. We believe communication policy - rooted in the values of access, equity, and diversity - has the power to deliver new opportunities and strengthen communities.
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