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Monday, November 08, 2010

11/16: Public Hearing in Albuquerque with FCC Comissioner Copps on Future of the Internet

The Internet’s future will be debated on November 16 in Albuquerque at a public hearing featuring Federal Communications Commissioner (FCC) Michael Copps and community leaders. The hearing coincides with the National Congress of American Indians' Annual Convention and is a valuable opportunity for Native Americans, Latinos and people from all of New Mexico’s diverse communities to share their ideas, experiences and concerns about Internet access and freedom. It's a rare chance for members of the public to participate in this important debate and to make their voices heard.

  • WHAT: Public Hearing on the Future of the Internet
  • DATE: Tuesday, November 16, 2010
  • TIME: 6:30 PM to 9:00 PM
  • LOCATION: National Hispanic Cultural Center, 1701 4th Street SW, Albuquerque, NM 87102

The free event is co-hosted by Free Press, the Center for Media Justice and the Media Literacy Project. For more information visit www.savetheinternet.com/ABQhearing. Click to RSVP. Everyone interested in expanding Internet access as well as ensuring that the Internet continues to serve the public and not just big media conglomerates is encourage to attend and participate.

This is a critical time in the debate over the future of the Internet in America. Nearly 24 million Americans -- and 50.3 percent of New Mexico households -- lack access to broadband.

“The Internet is an essential tool for participating in society and politics,” said Andrea Quijada, executive director of the Media Literacy Project. “No community should be left behind. American Indians and Latinos, especially those who live in rural areas, need the Internet to advocate for themselves, access government services and get important educational and health information. The Internet means opportunity, and we can’t deny opportunity to people because they can’t afford the Internet or don’t have access to it.”

Not only do communities need affordable broadband service, but they need to be able to choose where they go and what they see on the Web without interference from online gatekeepers.

“The location and timing could not be more perfect for this public hearing,” said Amalia Deloney, grassroots policy director for the Center for Media Justice. “We've heard from many Native and Latino communities about the challenges they face with access, and the vital role an open Internet plays in their lives. Holding this meeting during NCAI's annual conference ensures that these voices can be part of the conversation and that the FCC hears from community members, not just corporate lobbyists.”

The FCC is currently crafting the rules and regulations that will shape the future of the Internet. Phone and cable companies are flooding Washington with money and lobbyists, but the general public has been largely excluded from the debate.

“Decisions are being made inside the Beltway that affect people outside it, in the real world, and it is crucial that the FCC hears from people about the importance of protecting the open Internet,” said Misty Perez Truedson of Free Press. “As more and more people are getting online, we need the FCC to make sure that everyone has access to the same open Internet.”

Senator Tom Udall Weighs In
Last month, U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) wrote an article for Politico urging the FCC to preserve an open Internet and reassert its authority over broadband access by "partially reclassifying Internet communications as a 'telecommunications service' under Title II of the Communications Act." He said, in part:

This openness to a constant stream of innovations and new services is a defining feature of the Internet. At its core, the principle of “network neutrality” is freedom to access any legal, online content without restrictions from Internet service providers. In our country, we have had the luxury to take this virtually limitless power for granted — despite the fact that it is not guaranteed by law.

November 8, 2010 at 09:43 AM in Broadband, Events, Hispanic Issues, Native Americans, Regulation, Rural Issues, Web/Tech | Permalink

Comments

I think we've talked this to death. The Commerce Department just released a report on socio economic/racial/ethnic disparities in internet access. We in NM know how badly our communities need access. What exactly is FreePress and the other sponsors/promoters of this hearing doing to get folks internet access? It seems like all they focus on is "net neutrality". You need access before you can start sharing.

Posted by: vieja | Nov 9, 2010 8:02:48 AM

The groups involved with this have been pushing for more access as well as keeping the corporations from owning access and pushing everyone else to the slow side where nobody visits. I believe it is very important to voice our concerns to the FCC commissioner. Change takes time but the commenter above thinks it happens overnight.

Posted by: Linda | Nov 9, 2010 10:37:30 AM