CWA - Communications Workers of America

07/17/2017 | News release | Distributed by Public on 07/17/2017 17:31

NAACP, CWA Call for ‘Strong, Legally Enforceable Rules’ on Open Internet

NAACP, CWA Call for 'Strong, Legally Enforceable Rules' on Open Internet

Washington, D.C. -- The Communications Workers of America and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) support action by the Federal Communications Commission to adopt strong, legally enforceable rules to safeguard an open Internet and to give the highest priority to investment and job creation.

In comments submitted to the FCC today, CWA and the NAACP said that the Commission must 'protect the openness that is critical to the Internet's success' while encouraging 'investment by broadband providers and application, content and service providers.' Read the full filing.

CWA and the NAACP called on the Commission to adopt four 'bright-line' rules applicable to fixed and wireless broadband Internet access service providers. These rules are:

  • No Blocking.
  • No Throttling.
  • No Unreasonable Discrimination.
  • Enhanced Transparency.

'The urgent need to upgrade our nation's communications networks to world-class standards and to close the digital divide demands that the Commission give the highest priority to investment and job creation in formulating open Internet principles and rules. The Commission must ensure that its Open Internet rules do not have the unintended consequence of dampening the private investment needed to build the next-generation networks that will bring our nation's broadband capability up to global standards and create and maintain good jobs,' they wrote.

That's why the rules adopted by the FCC to ensure an Open Internet also 'must ensure that there is sufficient future investment and job creation to propel not only economic opportunity, but a permanent bridging of the digital divide. Building sufficient capacity to transport the video- and data-rich applications on the Internet is a key component to ensuring that people are not relegated to 'slow lanes' or degraded service online.'

Most important, CWA and the NAACP believe it is absolutely essential to establish a solid legal basis for Commission enforcement of the Open Internet rules.

'Classification of broadband Internet access service as a Title II telecommunications services represents one approach. Another approach, originally proposed by Chairman Wheeler in the 2014 Open Internet Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and endorsed at that time by CWA and the NAACP, would follow the blueprint provided by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in its 2014 Verizon decision. In that decision the D.C. Circuit suggested that the Commission could adopt no blocking and anti-discrimination rules so long as the Commission also allowed negotiated agreements between broadband and edge providers that meet a 'commercially reasonable' standard,' they wrote.

'It is long past time to provide a sound, sustainable legal basis for Commission enforcement of open Internet rules. The repeated reconsideration of these rules distracts public and policymaker attention from the core challenges we face in broadband policy: how to stimulate the hundreds of billions of dollars of investment needed to upgrade our nation's wired and wireless networks to world class standards; how to maintain and create good, career jobs in the industry; and how to close the digital divide so that every American, regardless of race, income, or geography, has access to affordable, high-speed Internet.'

CWA represents 700,000 workers in private and public sector employment who work in telecommunications and information technology; the airline industry; news media, broadcast and cable television; education, health care and public service; manufacturing, and other fields.

The NAACP is our nation's oldest, largest and most widely-recognized grassroots-based civil rights organization, with over 500,000 members and more than 2,200 NAACP units nationwide, in every state, and on military bases in Italy, in Germany, Japan and Korea.

CWA and the NAACP have long recognized that high-speed Internet is the essential communications infrastructure of the 21st century, providing a critical foundation for economic growth, job creation, and democratic communications.