All We Want For Christmas Is Internet Equality

Author: Alex Nogales
Federal Communications Commission, 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States

[Commentary] On Dec 21, just days before Christmas, the Federal Communications Commission will vote on whether Internet service providers can block or degrade access to online content and applications.

Press reports and comments from FCC officials have shed some light on what these rules are to contain. Based on what we know from these accounts, I am troubled that what the FCC Chairman has lined up will fall short when it comes to protecting the online experience of people of color and the poor. I find it particularly alarming that while the proposed rules impose a number of basic guidelines for the Internet that we access on our computers, those same basic protections would not apply to our cellular phones, a major Internet onramp for poor Americans and people of color. The FCC has just a few days to decide an issue that could dramatically affect all of us in the near future. Whatever rules were proposed weeks ago can still be strengthened to avoid wireless inequality.

In fact, Commissioners Copps and Clyburn, two stalwart champions of the people, have expressed a desire to strengthen rules for the mobile web. We continue to hope that their courage will rub off on the Chairman and that, on Tuesday, the FCC will vote for strong open Internet protections that apply equally to the mobile web. That is my Christmas wish.

[Nogales is CEO of the National Hispanic Media Coalition]



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