December 18, 2009

Leaders from 23 national organizations representing the Hispanic, Asian-American, African-American and Disability communities yesterday called upon the FCC to address their concerns that the impact of the proposed network neutrality regulations on unserved and underserved communities has not been adequately studied. The joint letter was filed with the FCC in response to the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on preserving the free and open Internet as a follow up to an original joint letter signed by many of the same organizations filed with the Commission in October.

The initial letter from October asked that the NPRM "include the framework and a request for comment that would produce a careful and empirical analysis of the impact that these [net neutrality] regulations would have on people with disabilities, low-income, minority, multilingual, elderly and young Americans." Despite this request, the FCC has not addressed this issue, which continues to be a growing concern for many of the diversity organizations.

The letter filed yesterday states that "now, months later, there has been no analysis of these important factors, as the Commission has moved forward with the NPRM."

The signers go on to write,

"As we have said before, we strongly urge the Commission to ensure that there will be no delays in advancing initiatives to bridge the digital divide. We also remain concerned that there are a number of proposals being considered by the FCC that may discourage broadband adoption, including many provisions being considered in the name of net neutrality. Should our communities be left behind in broadband deployment and adoption as a result of any reactive policy, we know our constituents and members stand to miss out on important opportunities for economic attainment, educational achievement, affordable health care, and civic engagement. At this time, the Commission's top priority should be extending these benefits to all Americans, rather than limiting their impact."

The letter concludes by stating that universal broadband deployment and adoption is and should be the first goal of the Commission, Administration and Congress in regard to a National plan.

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