WASHINGTON — On Thursday, 23 racial-justice, civil-liberties and digital-rights groups signed on to the following statement:
“Today the FCC voted 2–1 to initiate a notice of proposed rulemaking pertaining to its Net Neutrality rules. We are concerned about the possible impact of this rulemaking on the Lifeline program’s support for broadband service. We care deeply about the Lifeline broadband program because it mitigates the affordability barrier to broadband services in our homes — which is particularly acute for low-income people and people of color — and because broadband access removes barriers to educational, emergency, and civil services and job opportunities.
“We strongly support the FCC's recent Lifeline modernization order, which added standalone broadband-internet service to Lifeline. We urge the Commission to ensure that nothing in this rulemaking will harm, impair or weaken the ability of the Lifeline program to help low-income families afford broadband service so that they can take part in the modern economy. We also urge the Commission to avoid any shift in Lifeline resources or policy that distracts from the program's core goal of defraying the cost of communications services.”
The organizations that signed the statement are the Asian Americans Advancing Justice, Benton Foundation, the Center for Accessible Technology, the Center for Media Justice, the Center for Rural Strategies, Common Sense Kids Action, Communications Workers of America, Demand Progress, Free Press, Media Mobilizing Project, NAACP, the National Consumer Law Center (on behalf of its low-income clients), the National Digital Inclusion Alliance, the National Hispanic Media Coalition, New America's Open Technology Institute, OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates, OpenMedia, Open MIC (Open Media and Information Companies Initiative), Public Knowledge, Public Utility Law Project of New York, The Greenlining Institute, TURN–The Utility Reform Network and United Church of Christ, Office of Communication Inc.