The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

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


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,

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
, 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

"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

Free Press was created to give people a voice in the crucial decisions that shape our media. We believe that positive social change, racial justice and meaningful engagement in public life require equitable access to technology, diverse and independent ownership of media platforms, and journalism that holds leaders accountable and tells people what's actually happening in their communities.

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