FCC report offers recommendations on preventing digital discrimination
The FCC’s Communications Equity and Diversity Council adopted the Digital Empowerment and Inclusion (DEI) Working Group’s report offering recommendations on preventing digital discrimination by ISPs. The DEI working group’s report compiles the findings from the three CEDC Working Groups and offers guidance to states and localities seeking to prohibit “digital discrimination” in broadband deployment, adoption, and use, as well as in the contracting and grants processes for funds related to forthcoming broadband infrastructure. CWA was one of the public interest organizations that served on the working group, along with other industry, government, community, and subject matter experts.
“As many jobs, schools, and healthcare in recent years shifted to online environments, the need to deliver high-speed broadband connectivity across the country was amplified. And through these shifts, we saw the challenges Americans from unserved and underserved communities face in accessing high-speed internet to meet their basic needs,” said FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel. “Last year I expanded the mission of the Communications Equity and Diversity Council to look beyond traditional media, but across all technology, to further align with the Commission’s aggressive digital equity agenda. Tackling digital discrimination will help to make sure that all have access to this infrastructure we all need for success.”
On November 30, 2022, the FCC released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on digital discrimination which incorporates the DEI working group’s report. The NPRM seeks comments on the FCC’s suggested definition for the “digital discrimination of access,” and the rules the FCC “should adopt to facilitate equal access and combat digital discrimination, including a broad prohibition on digital discrimination, affirmative obligations on providers of broadband internet access service, and action on targeted issues.”
CWA urges the FTC and the DOJ to take into account in merger review guidelines the role of collective bargaining in counterbalancing employer market power