NewsTaco

December 23rd, 2010
Net Neutrality Vote Bad For Latinos

We wrote about the potential impact net neutrality could have on Latinos previously and now that the Federal Communications Commission has taken a vote on this issue, we’re back with the results. Although, as Erik Sherman points out, the FCC “vote” didn’t really decide anything. Nonetheless, it’s important to keep abreast of these developments because the potential impact on Latinos — who access the Internet primarily via mobile phones and wireless — is huge. We previously turned to The Root for this information and they’re back again this time with some startling news. James Rucker from ColorOfChange.org said the following:

“[The vote is] a loss for our communities. We’re starting down the path of what we saw with broadcast radio, with cable television: where essentially, marginalized voices from communities that already have a hard time communicating in their own voices, politically organizing — those communities are more than likely destined to be second-class players when it comes to the Internet.”

Net neutrality means that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) like Verizon and AT&T that provide Internet service won’t be able to decide who’s signal is delivered more or less quickly. According to Rucker, the FCC’s recent vote isn’t truly net neutrality because they DO allow tiering, which means some information may travel faster than other information, and wireless — where most Latinos and African-Americans get their Internet (phones) — is not protected.

This is a serious issue that we at NewsTaco intend to cover more in the future. In the meantime, let us know what you think.

3 thoughts on “Net Neutrality Vote Bad For Latinos

  1. The Federal Communications Commission sounds like it is in bed with big players the common folk can’t even see, and never will. i remember the advent of cable TV when a Community Access Channel was set aside but we can’t even get that at our place now with the big switchover to digital. They set aside zero funding for advertising Community Access as far as I know. As a result, it devolved to people making programs where people cavort around in tie-dyes and candlemaking documentaries. Valid, but I think the same big players saw the potential for Community Access rendering meaningful change, and essentially busted it down to a deaf-and-dumb vox box in case anything meaningful and grass roots ever appeared on there. The same shadowy people now don’t want cells, wireless, and so forth, to become meaningful tools in the hands of the masses which could do things such as change the predominance of government and business and its forced control over commerce and behavioralism.
    Doug Ross
    Sacramento, CA

  2. As a person who has defended net neutrality since it was first attacked back in 2006 and publicly criticized the 72 Democrats for siding with the telecomm industries, which Carlos forward my post to Express-News. He realized why people are perplexed by the net neutrality issue, the media coverage on this issue and how the internet work (infrastructure) is nowhere near the extent it is needed.

    I share your concern. The internet companies already have tiered Internet. For those who live inside San Antonio’s 1604 Loop use ATT are forced into paying for tiered Internet. You wouldn’t know if you went on their website, but the biggest give away, they advertise DSL service starting at “$14.95/mo” under their DSL Basic plan with a downstream speed at 768kbps; then they offer DSL Express ($30/1.5 Mbps), DSL Pro ($35/3.0 Mbps ) and DSL Elite ($40/6.o Mbps). Elite is only provided to certain cities, at the time I tried getting, I was told San Antonio was not included, even though I was told it was available through their availability check on their website.

    Those who live outside Loop 1604 are serviced by GVTC and Time Warner Cable. Out of the two, GVTC is the only one that is tierd. The lowest starting at $29.95 with a download speed of 768kbps. The reason TW is not tierd is explained on my post.

    My issue with the whole ruling, the FCC continues to view internet access as a luxury than a necessity. In a technical sense, the FCC ruling protect us as bloggers and new media news sites like you because the ISP cannot block users from accessing us because it does little good for a network to be consider neutral when devices (cable/DSL modems, smartphones and iPad type) are locked down and sites being blocked.

    The digital divide comes from the speed the user is able to access it. Think of a poor Latinos and African Americans family who purchased the ISP basic plan, with a download speed at 768kbps, you could take a shower and get dressed before browser ever loads, and if the web page is graphic and video heavy, forget about it. Now think about those non-profits who runs an after school programs using the internet who are offered the same broadband plans but at different prices, as a former IT director of two non-profits who served the Latino community, I can just hear it now – some employee ranting how their “Internet is slow” because the financial manager convinced the President the agency can save money by picking the cheaper plan.

    Why do you think Latinos and African Americans are accessing their information on the phone.

    I plan to write a couple of posts on how the FCC’s ruling affects both fixed and mobile broadband.

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