Excerpt: Federal Communications Commission commissioner Mignon Clyburn told a minority media conference audience Jan. 22 that network neutrality is not a threat to minority advancement but smart regulation that will help avoid the "damage" done to diversity by radio and TV deregulation.
The FCC's Democratic majority is backing a proposal to expand and codify the FCC's Internet openness principles. Since the Democrats have a 3-2 edge, some version of that proposal is likely to pass.
The minority community has been divided over the issue of network neutrality, with a number of groups cautioning the FCC, and more recently the White House and Congress, that network neutrality rules could widen the digital divide by discouraging the private investment necessary to get broadband to the poorer and minority communities that are currently unserved and underserved.
Clyburn made it clear she sided with those who saw the rules instead as a way to prevent "[ceding] control of the most significant communications advancement in our lifetimes."
"Together we must ensure that people of color--and all Americans -- can 'participate as owners, employees, and suppliers' on-line," she said. "That cannot happen, however, if we passively permit a new set of gatekeepers to erect yet another set of barriers to entry."