from the good-for-you-good-for-me dept.
Edward Wyatt reports at the NYT that the NAACP, the National Urban League and the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition have sent representatives, including the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, to tell Tom Wheeler, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, that they think Obama’s call to regulate broadband Internet service as a utility would harm minority communities by stifling investment in underserved areas and entrenching already dominant Internet companies. Jackson "was unequivocal in voicing his opposition to Title II because of its effects on investment in broadband and because of the ultimate impact on minority communities and job creation," says Berin Szoka, another participant in the meeting with Wheeler who has also argued for Section 706. "We got a lot of poor folks who don't have broadband," said Jackson. "If you create something where, for the poor, the lane is slower and the cost is more, you can't survive." “I think we’re all on board with the values embedded in what President Obama said, things like accelerating broadband deployment and adoption,” says Nicol Turner-Lee, vice president of the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council and a member of the group including Mr. Jackson that met with the F.C.C. chairman. “The question is, will we be able to solve these issues by going so far with stringent regulation?”
Some of the groups that oppose Title II designation, like the Urban League and the League of United Latin American Citizens, have received contributions from organizations affiliated with Internet service providers, like the Comcast Foundation, the charitable organization endowed by Comcast. But those organizations say that the donations or sponsorships do not influence their positions. “We get support from people on all sides of the issue, including Google and Facebook,” says Brent A. Wilkes, national executive director of the League of United Latin American Citizens. “We don’t let any of them influence our position.” For it's part, the NAACP says its formal policy position is that the NAACP neither endorses, nor opposes the formally defined concept of net neutrality but supports the need to particularly focus on under-served racial and ethnic minority and poor communities, while highlighting the importance of protecting an open internet.