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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 11, 2010
4:13 PM

CONTACT: Free Press

Jenn Ettinger 202-265-1490 x 35

FCC to Hear from Minnesotans on Future of Internet

In Wake of Google-Verizon Pact, Minneapolis Becomes Center of Internet Debate

Commissioners Copps and Clyburn to Attend Public Hearing Aug. 19

MINNEAPOLIS - August 11 - The Federal Communications Commission's Michael Copps and Mignon Clyburn will meet with the public at a hearing on the future of the Internet in Minneapolis on Aug. 19. The hearing, which comes in the wake of Google's pact with Verizon to build toll lanes on the Internet, is a rare opportunity for members of the public to participate in this critical debate and make their voices heard.

WHAT: Public Hearing on the Future of the Internet

DATE: Thursday, Aug. 19, 2010

TIME: 6:00 p.m.

LOCATION: South High School Auditorium, 3131 19th Avenue South, Minneapolis

The free event is co-hosted by Free Press, Main Street Project and the Center for Media Justice.

"In Minnesota, the Internet has become an increasingly critical platform for jobs, education and health care," said Steven Renderos, media justice organizer at Main Street Project. "It is important that the FCC step up to preserve the Internet because without it, we risk further marginalizing the communities that need it the most."

A recent court decision left the FCC's authority over Internet providers in legal limbo. Without this authority, the agency cannot protect Net Neutrality, the principle that guarantees free speech online, and cannot ensure that every American has access to affordable broadband service.

"The FCC recently announced that up to 24 million Americans don't have access to broadband," said amalia deloney, grassroots policy director for the Center for Media Justice. "The exclusion of millions of people from the defining technology of our time only widens the existing gulf between those that have and those that don't. Everyday people like you and me must have a voice in shaping the future of the Internet. This hearing will give members of the public the chance to communicate their ideas, experiences and concerns directly to the commissioners."

In a recent speech, Minnesota Sen. Al Franken called Net Neutrality "the free speech issue of our time." Without Net Neutrality, the Internet could go the way of cable TV, dominated by the largest companies, with higher prices, fewer choices and more limited access for consumers.

"The debate over the future of the Internet is at a critical moment, and now is the time to make your voice heard," said Josh Silver, president of Free Press. "Net Neutrality and free speech online are at risk, and right now the only people at the table with the FCC in this debate are lobbyists for the phone and cable giants. The FCC needs to hear from the public so that companies like Verizon and Google cannot choose winners and losers online."

***Note to editors and producers: Commissioners Michael Copps and Mignon Clyburn will be available for interviews at the event. Josh Silver, amalia deloney and Steven Renderos are available for interviews prior to and during the event. Reporters interested in covering the event should contact Jenn Ettinger at jettinger@freepress.net.

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Free Press is a national, nonpartisan organization working to reform the media. Through education, organizing and advocacy, we promote diverse and independent media ownership, strong public media, and universal access to communications. Learn more at www.freepress.net



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