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These comments read, in part, 'UCC et al. submit these comments in response to the Commission's request for comments on proposals put forth by the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council (MMTC) for advancing broadcast ownership opportunities for women and minorities consistent with constitutional requirements and the Commission's statutory authority.'
Written Testimony submitted by Common Cause, Member of the Media & Democracy Coalition,
to the Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet, House Committee on Energy on Commerce for the March 7 Hearing: ?Digital Future of the United States: Part II ? The Future of Radio?
The regulatory review of Sinclair Broadcasting’s $3.9 billion plan to acquire the Tribune Media Group is moving into a critical phase with today’s deadline for submission of comments on the merger to the Federal Communications Commission.
A slew of recent polls make clear that most Americans, nearly 80%, support keeping the network neutrality rules that are the foundation of an open internet. These are the rules passed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in 2015, under the leadership of then-chairman Tom Wheeler, that keep the big Internet Service Providers (ISPs) like Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon from determining your internet experience, because they’d rather do that themselves than let you do it. Net neutrality rules prohibit blocking or throttling content. And they keep ISPs from favoring their affiliates, corporate friends, and those who can afford sky-high broadband prices with fast lanes on the net, while the rest of us are told to travel in the slow lane.
Today's proposal, if approved, will cut the open internet off at the knees. The majority at the Commission has invited a few telecom giants to design and control our communications future and relegates consumers and innovators to passive recipients of what the big boys deign to provide us. This is exactly the opposite of how the internet was supposed to function, with citizens empowered to frequent the sites and services of their choice - not subject to corporate censorship or slow lanes.
Sinclair's acquisition of Tribune Broadcasting is expected and disappointing. Expected because the new FCC majority is foaming at the mouth to rubber stamp more massive media mergers; and disappointing because Sinclair is not known for the best journalism in the land, to put it mildly. Our nation’s civic dialogue suffers yet another blow with this merger.