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  • Diversity v. Neutrality: Minority Groups Make Case Against Regulation

    Fostering diversity in, and minority access to, channels of communication has long been a key goal of the Federal Communications Commission. In practice, this all too often has been interpreted to mean ownership limits, set-asides, preferences and other mandates imposed by the agency. Usually lost in the heated debates is the fact that ill-considered regulation itself can impede minority access and diversity.

    In comments filed at the FCC last week, a group of sixteen minority and civil rights organizations — ranging from the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law to the National Conference of Black Mayors — argue that FCC’s proposed net neutrality rules on Internet providers may do just that. “[T]his proceeding implicates one of the most important civil rights issues of our time,” the comments –written by David Honig of the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council — assert.

    Minorities lag behind in broadband adoption, the comments point out, and thus have the most to gain by its growth and the most to lose if that growth is hindered. Among the more specific possible harms cited: higher prices, slowed deployment, and slower job growth, all of which would be especially harmful to minorities. Net neutrality regulation, Honig writes, could become yet another in a long line of facially neutral government policies that hurt the most disadvantaged in society rather than help them.

    “The lesson from these experiences is clear,” he says:

    …even apparently universal and neutral federal programs can widen existing disparities. As we now continue the transition into a digital age, the Commission should ensure that its efforts to promote a free and open Internet for all do not end up leaving minorities and other groups lacking equal access to broadband behind.

    Definitely worth reading.

    Posted in Economics [slideshow_deploy]

    8 Responses to Diversity v. Neutrality: Minority Groups Make Case Against Regulation

    1. Bobbie Jay says:

      I'm sorry, but when stated, "minority access," access to what that isn't equal access to all? Having broadband access isn't a necessity of survival which deems "access" a luxury. Am I misunderstanding the whole thing??

      which definition is diversity and minorities defined? If it is everyone who isn't white as implied by the title “Black Mayors,” this is discrimination. Many people are worse off without a job and give up what they have to, to get by.

      As an American, I see people as individual lives, who are self reliant. taking on their lives the way they choose and are able within the means they provide themselves and with equal opportunity, everyone is established by their own will and choices…until government intervenes… but different interests, referring to people as minorities, is insulting, as specifying "access" to be more difficult, is finding minorities as inferior. It is difficult for me to understand the blog, but it is bothersome to read inferences of Americans who are of one race. HUMAN!

    2. J.C. Hughes, Texas says:

      I've been accused of not understanding the plight of minorities. I suppose my accusers are correct in a small way. I was a military brat when racial discrimination was no longer tolerated within the armed forces. I followed this upbringing with a military career myself. For this reason, I've only known fair playing fields where evaluations and promotions were based on performance and ability. Of course there's always human factors involved. Service members enter with their civilian biases. This can cause problems such as PC quota mindsets among superiors. I had to question if misplaced thinking like this contributed in a small way to Major Hasan's situation. Anyway, we as a nation need to move beyond racial barriers depending on anti-discrimination laws when needed to address grievances. This is my two cents worth.

    3. Drew Page, IL says:

      Perhaps if we were provided the meaning behind the statements we could respond more intelligently.

      "Minorities lag behind in broadband adoption." Just exactly what does that mean? What channels of communication are minorities denied?

      If an individual wants to communicate over the internet, all he/she has to do is buy a PC, a phone line and pay a monthly fee to some company like Comcast and bingo, they are communicating on the broadband. If the article is referring to minority ownership of a broadband communication service, that is another matter. I have no idea what regulations, requirements and rules the FCC may have regarding the awarding of such a franchise to any applicant. What ever rules, regulations and requirements the FCC may have, I'm relatively certain that they apply equally to any applicant regardless minority or non-minority status.

      Are the minority organizations who filed the complaint with the FCC asking for more than equal treatment?

    4. Tim Az says:

      Nothing new here liberals always hurt their supporters and never suffer any consequences for their actions.

    5. Glenn, Scottsdale, A says:

      We need to also note the Secretary of State Clinton jumped into the Chinese efforts to limit use of the internet by the citizens. Doesn't the U. S. need open access. The Iran government tried to limit during the protests of the fixed election. Openness – really – not Obama's so-called transparency.

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    8. Rod Hope, Grand Rapi says:

      Minoritie Report is a group on facebook that encourages minorities, thru information, engaging topics, entertainment and references to valuable resources, to find creative ways to start businesses and to stay in tune with current and past events that profoundly affect minorities.

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