Add the Urban League and other members of the Broadband Opportunity Coalition (BBOC) to those with questions about the impact of codifying network neutrality on broadband deployment and adoption.
In a letter to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, whose electronic mailbox was filling with network neutrality epistles Tuesday, as well as the other commisisoners, BBOC said it supported the president's vision of an open Internet and the "equally essential goal" of closing the digital divide.
It was that latter goal that prompted concerns about how the FCC was going about achieving the former.
"If the history of civil rights in America teaches us anything," they said, "it is that facially neutral laws and regulations are not always applied neutrally to the constituencies we represent," they said. "We certainly don’t want that to happen to Internet regulation too, and we’re very concerned that, despite your very best intentions, some aspects of net neutrality might not turn out to be neutral as applied to our constituencies."
David Honig, general counsel for BBOC, says the groups have an open mind. "Much of network neutrality is valuable," but that there is conflicting information about the impact on the key goals of adoption and closing the digital divide.
"What we were hoping is that in the early part of the proposed rulemaking process, questions will be included that will ask the public for comment on these questions that relate to the civil rights of broadband policy, which are often overlooked and it is better to catch them earlier than later."
In addition to the Urban League, signing on to the letter were The Asian American Justice Center, the League of United Latin American Citizens and La Raza.