Congress, Not the Courts, Needs to Deliver Consumers a Solution on an Open Internet
Today’s U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit decision to uphold much of the FCC’s 2017 Restoring Internet Freedom order serves as a reminder that after more than a decade of debate, net neutrality remains a hotly debated issue inside and outside the courtroom. And, it will remain that way until Congress acts to pass bipartisan, pro-consumer legislation that applies a consistent standard across the internet ecosystem.
The Hispanic Technology and Telecommunications Partnership (HTTP) strongly supports an open internet that can grow and expand at the speed of innovation. The right legislative solution is needed in order to preserve the internet as an open platform for ideas, investment, and innovation. This can and should be done in a way that protects the rights of consumers, supports consumer choice, prioritizes public safety, and incentivizes broadband infrastructure build out to deliver affordable service options to historically disconnected communities.
As one of the youngest user groups in the country (with an average age of 29) Latinos have benefited from the transformative power of the of internet leading to some of the highest rates of digital entrepreneurship, and the consumption of digital media at rates that far outpace other demographic groups. Latinos are a vital engine of the internet economy proving that access to broadband serves to supercharge their economic contributions in their communities and beyond.
Without clear guidance from Congress, the internet continues to be a mine field of whiplash regulations that ultimately result in decreased broadband deployment further entrenching the digital divide for rural Americans, Latinos, and communities of color.
Without this critical access, Latinos are unfairly denied the very tools essential to economic competitiveness in a digital and increasingly global economy. Congress should enact net neutrality legislation that avoids one-sided regulation of internet providers to ensure equitable internet access for everyone.
Just as entrepreneurs and innovators deserve equal opportunities in the whole sector, Congress should ensure that open internet rules apply equally across the internet ecosystem. As the last two years of heightened Congressional inquiry have demonstrated, Big Tech companies have the power to control consumers’ access to online content and services and should be held to the same legislative scrutiny.
Congressional action is essential to stopping the never-ending legal battles over net neutrality, and establish a durable framework to help drive the 21st century economy. HTTP has and will always strongly advocate for a free and open internet that is accessible to all Americans, especially Latinos who continue to be on the wrong side of the digital divide, to be able to prosper in our internet-based society. HTTP will continue to fight for fair, strong and comprehensive pro-consumer net neutrality laws for the entire internet ecosystem.