Posts Taged federal-communications-commission

Put the Politics Aside And Get To The Business of Broadband

This post originally appeared on the Huffington Post

Elections, the economy, and everybody is up in arms. With Nov. 2 right around the corner, I can’t help but think about how much political capital has been exhausted on the issues of net neutrality and Title II reclassification over the past few months. Though the future of the Internet — and the implementation of the National Broadband Plan — undergird our efforts at economic recovery and increased global competitiveness, those “two magic words” have seemed to steer us off course from our primary intentions because of their politically charged nature, and uber-divisive implications.

In 2008, then-Candidate Obama was vying for my vote as the next President of the United States. It was one of the first times that the ever-elusive, ever troublesome phrase “net neutrality” became a colloquial part of the modern lexicon, and the rest, as they say, is history.

For nearly two years, for those of us who live our lives online, this issue of how Internet regulations would be framed going forward has consumed far more energy than most of us would care to admit. In some cases, business partnerships have been splintered, friendships have been broken, and partisan and ideological lines have been drawn, crossed and broken. And for what? We’re still living under the same regime that we’ve always had, the Internet is not broken, the sky has not fallen, the only difference is, we’re all a lot angrier. What’s all the fuss been about? Has it done us any good? I don’t know, but it’s sure made for a good hot button issue during a contentious election year.

Last week, with the critical midterm elections looming on the horizon, I found hope above the mire of the net neutrality fray in two filings made before the FCC in its Open Internet proceeding. One filing was by the National Association of Multicultural Digital Entrepreneurs (NAMDE), the new trade association for people who produce content, applications, infrastructure and a variety of other business models online. The other was by the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council (MMTC), joined by 25 other national organizations, including NAMDE.

At a time that is so critical to the future of our country, these filings made the critical point that the politics of broadband can and should be checked at the door as we collaborate to close the digital divide. Two points were abundantly clear in those filings. First, we all believe in and aspire to preserve the open Internet. It’s what our culture thrives on and, frankly, it’s what we’re all actually fighting for, though we may at times disagree over how to accomplish it. Second, in striving to protect the Internet we all know and love, we do not want to thwart the prospects of success for those who have historically been disadvantaged in business and economic development – women, people of color, members of low-income communities. The longer any among us stays disenfranchised, the longer and more severely we will all suffer.

That’s really what this is all about isn’t it? Creating opportunity and paving a better path forward for all Americans generally, and the traditionally disadvantaged specifically?

If you put all the self-interested rhetoric and snarky banter aside, I think that’s what it all boils down to. Though a counter-culture insurgence is brewing below America’s surface, why can’t we take a moment to pause and focus on creating universal opportunity for all Americans, eliminating the digital divide that currently exists along social and economic lines in our country, and helping all our people learn how to harness the power of the Internet to transform their lives? It should be both our duty and our privilege to move past anger and aggression and coalesce around the creation of meaningful opportunities that benefit us all.

It’s time to put the politics aside, and get down to the business of broadband.

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Interview on Technlogy, Internet Adoption and How Minorities Can Take Advantage

Recently I was interviewed on WUF1080am. We talked about a few topics: Technology, Internet adoption, How we get more minorities to take advantage of broadband, and Net Neutrality. Turned into a great conversation. Give it a listen.

Navarrow Wright on WUFO from Navarrow Wright on Vimeo.

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FCC’s Regulation Changes Would Be A Step Backward

The Washington Post
Image via Wikipedia

The Washington Post has always been one of the front runners of old media in race to ensure their content is available across multiple digital channels. I believe that the efforts they have made on the Washington and with the launch of the have set the standard for how other print outlets approach integrating the online channel into their business. They’ve also won a few Pulitzer’s, kept us informed  and made us understand the Beltway better.  With all that said, you have to believe Post’s owners and investors are deeply interested in being profitable and in making sure no ISP – or anyone else, for that matter – is manipulating access to their product.

So when the Washington Post calls the FCC’s attempt to regulate the Internet “a serious step backward,” you’ve got to take notice.      As the Post’s editorial says, the Internet is ”complex and evolving” and oversight must be flexible, and it must acknowledge that some rigid and detailed rules – like those first adopted generations ago – don’t make sense today.  “Establishing a clearly limited power to take action against anti-competitive violations, rather than encumbering this vital sector with detailed and prescriptive regulation, is the sensible approach.”

The article caught my eye because it’s saying what I’ve been saying for some time now. We are not talking about net nuetrality, we are talking about net “regulation” and if that regulation is made too broadly then innovation will suffer. We have to be clear with people about what’s really being debated and not cloud the issues with buzz words in attempts to incite emotions.  I agree with oversight but let’s not go down a path that will only slow progress and even more importantly adoption in the areas where it needs to happen the most.

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