Today, Public Knowledge filed comments on the Federal Communications Commission’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to promote equal access to broadband in every community by preventing digital discrimination. Congress directed the FCC in the “Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act,” to eliminate digital discrimination and ensure equal access to broadband for “all people of the United States.” As Congress found, the COVID-19 pandemic underscored how a “persistent” digital divide “disproportionately affects communities of color, low-income areas and rural areas.” Public Knowledge urges the agency to proactively set policies that end digital discrimination and promote equal access to broadband regardless of ethnicity, race, zip code, national origin, or income level.
The following can be attributed to Harold Feld, Senior Vice President of Public Knowledge:
“The COVID-19 pandemic showed that redlining remains a reality for millions of Americans. As Congress recognized in the bipartisan infrastructure act, it will take more than appropriating billions of dollars for deployment in rural areas to bring everyone equal access to broadband. It means requiring broadband providers to deploy fiber and 5G in every neighborhood, regardless of the income level or race of the neighborhood. Congress created the FCC in 1934 to ensure that all Americans had affordable telephone service. Almost 90 years later, Congress ordered the FCC to adopt rules that bring affordable broadband to all Americans. We urge the FCC to move swiftly and forcefully to uphold the mandate for universal service in the 21st century.”
You may view our recent blog post, “Why Is Redlining Still Happening?,” for more information on how digital discrimination still occurs. You may also view our previous Notice of Inquiry comments filed with the FCC urging the agency to stop digital discrimination.
Members of the media may contact Communications Director Shiva Stella with inquiries, interview requests, or to join the Public Knowledge press list at firstname.lastname@example.org or 405-249-9435.