The Minority Media & Telecom Council says minority businesses
need to be able to pay for faster and more reliable broadband service.
MMTC has written the FCC on behalf of 13 minority business
and professional groups asking the commissioners not to disallow companies from
paying for "quality of service" upgrades that insure performance of
services like VoIP and video conferencing over the Internet.
According to copies of their ex parte filings with the FCC, net neutrality
fan Free Press has met with FCC Chief of Staff Ed Lazarus and Commissioner
Michael Copps to push the commission to include a prohibition on so-called
Free Press defines it as when third party content owners "can
pay an ISP to "cut to the front of the line" at congested nodes," but also
when an ISP favors its own content, which it calls "vertical
In response, MMTC argues that it is instead a voluntary,
private agreement that allows minority businesses to compete with companies
like Amazon, MSN, Google and Yahoo who can afford to invest in virtual private
networks that can guarantee customers faster and more reliable access to
content and apps by bypassing the Internet backbone.
"By preventing these voluntary agreements," says MMTC,
"the Commission would effectively insulate established Internet-based
companies from competition and allow for the proliferation of two Internets -
one that well-funded, incumbent companies can use, and another for all other
The FCC currently has an open rulemaking on expanding and
codifying its Internet openness principles. Free Press would like to see a ban
on paid priority in the mix, while MMTC says that would be "a serious
mistake and represent a significant step backwards.
Groups signing on to the letter include the National Association
of Black County Officials, the National Black Caucus of State Legislators, and
the National Conference of Black Mayors and others who are already on the
record as having concerns about the FCC's plans to codify network neutrality rules.