Telecom Policy Should Not Cater to Special Interests, Groups Urge

Celia Wexler, Common Cause, (202) 833-1200

Craig Aaron, Free Press, (202) 265-1490 x 25

Seventeen public interest, civil rights, media reform, community media, and consumer groups today delivered a letter to members of the House Commerce Committee urging the Committee to protect American consumers and local communities as it moves forward on a rewrite of the 1996 Telecommunications Act. The Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet is holding a hearing today on the staff discussion draft of the legislation.

While praising the draft’s continued support for the rights of local governments to provide community broadband services “free from the intervention of state governments,” the letter expressed concerns that a second draft of the telecomm legislation now being considered by the Committee weakens consumer protections and network neutrality rules, as compared to a draft released last month.

“Policies that do not respond to the public interest, but instead serve special interests, will inhibit economic development, hinder efforts to expand equality of opportunity for all citizens, and stunt economic competitiveness and innovation,” the groups said.

Groups signing the letter include: Alliance for Community Media, Association of Independent Video and Filmmakers, CCTV Center for Media and Democracy, Center for Creative Voices in Media, Center for Digital Democracy, Common Cause, Consumer Project on Technology, Deep Dish TV, Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting, Free Press, Future of Music Coalition, Hawaii Consumers, Media Access Project, Media Democracy Chicago, National Hispanic Media Coalition, The Peoples Channel, and U.S. PIRG.

Click here to read the full text of the letter.

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