WASHINGTON - September 26 - The Center for Public Integrity today filed suit against the Federal Communications Commission for failure to provide a database of records requested under the Freedom of Information Act.
The lawsuit alleges that the FCC has failed to provide the Center with an electronic copy of a database about the companies that provide broadband within particular zip codes in the United States.
"We filed suit against the FCC to obtain the data that the public and policy-makers need in order to get a complete and accurate picture of the current state of broadband," said Drew Clark, who leads the Center's Telecommunications anrad Media Project.
In 2004, President George W. Bush declared that it was a national priority to spur the development of broadband, or high-speed Internet access.
"I'm talking about broadband technology to every corner of our country by the year 2007 with competition shortly thereafter," Bush said on April 26, 2004.
The Center desires to make the data that examines broadband deployment publicly available, which will aid in the nation's understanding of the extent of broadband availability.
"All of the legislative debates surrounding communications policy rely on the availability of broadband – whether the subject is Net neutrality, universal service, or video competition," said Clark.
The Center for Public Integrity's ongoing project on the political influence of the telecommunications and media industries, "Well Connected," has published an Internet-based searchable database of the radio, television, newspaper and cable companies reaching any particular zip code. The Center plans to add broadband to its Media Tracker database, which is available online at http://www.publicintegrity.org/telecom.
"The updated Media Tracker is a wonderful database tool that already provides every American with the ability to know who owns the media in their hometown, even in their own zip code," said Acting Executive Director Wendell Rawls. "It will be even more useful with the addition of the public information about broadband and who controls it, which the FCC is withholding for some reason."
With or without the FCC's broadband data, the Center's Telecommunications and Media Project is undergoing a major upgrade, which includes:
- A redesign and update of the Center's Media Tracker database of more than 5 million pieces of information from governmental sources, corporate disclosure documents and original research.
- Corporate information about the broadcast and cable properties of more than 200 leading telecommunications, media and broadband providers.
- New profiles investigating the legislative and regulatory activities of the top 40.
- A redesigned Web site promoting the Media Tracker, and highlighting up-to-date reporting and blog entries from Center staff devoted to telecommunications.
The case, Center for Public Integrity v. Federal Communications Commission, was filed on Monday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. It was assigned to Judge Rosemary M. Collyer.
The "Well Connected" project is made possible primarily by support from the Ford Foundation.
Click here for a copy of the filed complaint.
To obtain details about the October press conference announcing the new Media Tracker, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org