Alliance for Digital Equality to FCC: Consider network neutrality regulation effects on minority, low-income communities

ATLANTA, GA – In a letter submitted to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Wednesday, the Alliance for Digital Equality (ADE) urged the Commission to consider the impact of new network neutrality regulations on minority and low-income communities.  Citing member views on broadband as an empowering tool for communities of color that could be jeopardized by onerous net neutrality regulations, ADE strongly encouraged the Commission to take whatever steps necessary to ensure the accessibility and affordability of broadband Internet.  Specifically, ADE requested that the Commission require a “broadband impact” statement for any proposed network neutrality regulations.  The letter was regarding the Commission’s upcoming Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on network neutrality regulations.

“Implementing new network neutrality regulations in a time of economic uncertainty and significant funding issues is extremely disconcerting to members of ADE,” said Julius Hollis, Chairman of ADE.   “Minorities and low-income communities are those most likely to cut back or eliminate service once cost becomes an issue.”

“ADE would like to avoid a regulatory scenario where communities of color that have traditionally been the last to adopt broadband are forced into becoming the first ones off due to cost concerns.  Broadband is no longer considered a luxury and in light of this, we urge the Commission to remain vigilant against forces, including misguided legislation and regulation that may unintentionally make broadband less affordable or accessible to those minority and low-income communities,” Hollis stated.

“Further, given the Commission’s recent estimate of $350 billion to achieve universal broadband access the members of ADE feel that there is an urgent need to address how this expansion will be funded,” said Hollis.  “It is widely thought that new net neutrality regulations will reduce investment in infrastructure, thus causing broadband to become less affordable and accessible to underserved and un-served populations.  As such, costs should be allocated to high bandwidth users who can bear it.  Since minority and low-income Internet users are typically not high bandwidth users, this would allow the digital divide to narrow and potentially facilitate economic expansion in underserved communities.”

To view the letter,  click here: http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/prod/ecfs/retrieve.cgi?native_or_pdf=pdf&id_document= 7020142029