Tuesday, May 04, 2010


Here at Reel Grrls, we like to keep track of what the Federal Communications Commission is doing and how it affects our lives. When the FCC came to town a couple of years ago to hold a public hearing about Media Consolidation, a bunch of RG participants went down to testify and dress up like zombies (media zombies that is). They even made a film about it:

Lately the biggest thing going on in Media Justice is Net Neutrality: creating the protections that will allow for a free and open internet, one in which no one would have greater or faster access to distributing or receiving information based on $$ or anything else. Clearly, this is an issue for the FCC, our national consumer-rights commission that handles all things communications-related. Right? Wrong.

This weekend, mere days after holding a community hearing in Seattle in which community members demanded regulation for a free and open internet, (Obama-appointed) FCC chairman Julian Genachowski made noise about plans to keep broadband services deregulated. Say what?!?

Our friends at the Center for Media Justice elaborate:

According to yesterday's Washington Post, Chairman Genachowski is buckling under industry pressure to side against open Internet protections. The Post cites several sources within the FCC who say that Genachowski “is leaning toward keeping the current regulatory framework for broadband services in place.”

But the “current regulatory framework” is unacceptable, because an appeals court ruled in April that the FCC lacked authority over Internet access issues. The court was simply responding to a problem of the agency’s own making: Under the Bush administration, it undercut its own authority over the Internet by classifying broadband as a Title I "information service" rather than a Title II "telecommunications service." The Obama FCC can now fix this bad history by simply reversing the decisions made during the Bush era.

So, what does this mean? If the FCC does not reclassify broadband as something they ha
ve control over (and they should have control! If not them, who else? Self-regulating big communication companies??), they are basically saying it's not their problem, and hence they are taking the idea of creating the oversight for Net Neutrality that would allow us access to an open internet OFF THE TABLE.

The good news: This decision is not finalized and has not been officially announced. So NOW IS THE TIME to push back!! Call or email chairman Genachowski at (202) 418.1000 or julius.genachowski@fcc.gov and Commissioner Mignon Clyburn at (202) 418.2100 or mignon.clyburn@fcc.gov. Let them know that we need an Open Internet, and that reclassifying broadband as a Title II/communications service is important to our communities.

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