Celebrating a Victory, With an Eye to the Future
On February 26th, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to reclassify the Internet as a public utility, as essential as water and electricity, and adopted strong protections to keep the Internet open and free for this and future generations.
One year ago, today’s victory was unimaginable. We were up against powerful forces that wanted the power to block and slow down sites and create fast lanes for those who could pay—and slow lanes for the rest of us. It didn’t seem like everyday Americans had a chance. But millions of us stood up and spoke out: entrepreneurs, educators, artists, activists, and people of many faiths and moral backgrounds.
Against all odds, millions of Americans of all faiths and backgrounds fought for our future—a future that preserves the Internet as a space where all our voices can be heard, regardless of income, race, religion, or status. We are so proud of the UCC JPANet members and other faith leaders like Rev. J. Bennett Guess, Rev. Jennifer Bailey, Rev. Dr. William J Barber II, who raised their voices to help achieve this victory.
Some members of Congress are working to undo the FCC’s decision. Please stay tuned and check out faithfulinternet.org for more information on this developing story.
Save the Date, Parker Lecture 2015
The date for OC Inc.’s 33rd annual Everett C. Parker Lecture has been set for October 20th 2015 in Washington DC. Join us to celebrate all of the hard work being done at the intersection of social justice and telecommunications. We are currently accepting nominations for the Parker Award and our other awards., Please nominate candidates.
Finish Prison Phone Rate Reform
UCC OC Inc., NAACP, Center for Media Justice and others teamed up with religious organizations, civil rights groups, labor and many others to submit a letter in January supporting further reforms to end predatory prison phone rates. The letter praised the FCC’s reform last year ending predatory long distance rates and encouraged it to quickly cap local phone rates and block unfair fees. We also urged the FCC to take rapid action to protect people with disabilities and to investigate unscrupulous rates for email and video visitation. Learn more about prison phone rates on our prison phone campaign web page.
Letter to the House Oversight Committee
On March 18th, OC Inc. delivered a letter, signed by over 30 other social justice organizations, to the Congressional House Oversight Committee. In our letter we expressed to Congress our support for the FCC’s approval of strong open internet rules and our disappointment that Congress is looking to overturn these consumer protections.
Disappointing Ruling on Kids TV
Working on social justice always involves steps forward and steps back. Even as we celebrated a net neutrality victory, the FCC rejected two 10-year old petitions by the United Church of Christ’s media justice ministry. These complaints were part of a series of complaints filed in 2004 and 2005 that highlighted the most egregious violations of the Children’s Television Act. In 2007, one of these petitions was responsible for the biggest fine in FCC history at the time, a $24 million forfeiture by Univision. The FCC’s rejection of these petitions, in a two and a half page letter, was a rejection of the needs of the tens of millions of families who don’t have access to broadband at home and thus rely on broadcasting for educational television. As we said in our statement, “the FCC’s action told these children that no one is willing to look out for them.”