Minority groups to oppose FCC reclassification

The Honorable John Rockefeller
Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation
253 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Kay Bailey Hutchison
Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation
253 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Henry Waxman
House Committee on Energy and Commerce
2125 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Joe Barton
House Committee on Energy and Commerce
2125 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

July 18, 2010

Dear Chairmen Rockefeller and Waxman, Ranking Members Hutchison and Barton:

In light of the FCC's recent adoption of a Notice of Inquiry on broadband classification, we, the undersigned civil rights and other organizations, have concerns about the unintended implications that such efforts could have on the state of broadband deployment and adoption across the country.  Rather, we urge you and your colleagues in Congress to step in and clarify the scope and direction of the FCC's authority, thereby restoring certainty and clarity to the broadband environment. 

Over the past several months, we have all urged the Commission to diligently pursue the goals of the National Broadband Plan, as contemplated by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that you signed into law on February 17, 2009.  Since the release of the Plan in March, we have applauded the Commission's efforts to bridge the digital divide in this country and connect all Americans to the Internet. 

Therefore, we are concerned that the Commission's proposed regulations could be a distraction from efforts to implement the National Broadband Plan.  By injecting uncertainty into the broadband market, we fear that proposed regulations could have detrimental effects on investment, innovation and job creation.  As staff from the Commission has estimated that it will take up to $350 billion to deploy broadband nationally, those underserved by broadband cannot afford a decrease in future investments.  Nor can American workers, who we must rely upon to build out broadband infrastructure across the country.  The goal of closing the digital divide and creating jobs in our communities should be at the forefront of our broadband policy agenda at this time.

We plan on continuing to educate our constituencies about the possible unintended outcomes that the FCC’s proposal poses to our communities. As a bipartisan majority of Congress has voiced their opposition to the FCC's proposal, we hope that you will heed our request and offer a compromise moving forward.  Furthermore, we are encouraged by a June 18 letter from the AFL-CIO, NAACP, LULAC and other leading labor, environmental and civil rights organizations to Congressional leaders, also calling for a legislative solution. 

Our highest priorities should be wiring our communities and putting people back to work.  We encourage you to take this opportunity to further drive this momentum providing certainty and clarity to broadband regulation.  

Sincerely,

Albert E. Dotson, Jr
Chairman of the Board
100 Black Men of America

Ruby G Moy
Interim Executive Director
Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies

Ronald Blackburn-Moreno
President & CEO
ASPIRA

Nestor Montilla
President
Dominican American National Roundtable

Gus West
Board Chair and President
The Hispanic Institute
Co-Chair
Hispanic Telecommunication and Technology Partnership

S. Floyd Mori
National Executive Director
Japanese American Citizens League

Milton Rosado
National President
Labor Council for Latin American Advancement

Jose Marquez
President & CEO
Latinos in Information Sciences and Technology Association

 J.D. Hokoyama
President & CEO
Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics, Inc.

Alma Riojas
President & CEO
MANA: A National Latina Organization

Anthony W. Robinson
President
Minority Business Enterprise Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc.

Dr. Lezli Baskerville
President and Chief Executive Officer
National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO)

Ricardo C. Byrd
Executive Director
National Association of Neighborhoods

Melanie Campbell
Executive Director
National Coalition of Black Civic Participation

Rafael Fantauzzi
President & CEO
National Puerto Rican Coalition

George C. Wu
Executive Director
Organization of Chinese Americans

Dr. Juan Andrade
President and CEO
US Hispanic Leadership Institute

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