FCC to Consider Rules to Eliminate Digital Discrimination

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is considering rules that it says would prevent discrimination in access to broadband services.

According to a “Fact Sheet” issued by the FCC in late October, the Commission will vote on rules at its November 15th meeting that would target business practices and policies that impede equal access to broadband services based on income level, race, ethnicity, color, religion, and national origin. Specifically, the rules would:

  • Directly address companies’ policies and practices if they differentially impact consumers’ access to broadband internet access service or are intended to do so;
  • Apply these protections to ensure communities see equitable broadband deployment, network upgrades, and maintenance;
  • Investigate possible instances of discrimination of broadband access, work to solve and, when necessary, penalize companies for failing to meet the obligations defined in the rules;
  • Review consumer complaints of digital discrimination through an improved consumer complaint portal; and
  • Help protect both current and prospective subscribers to a broadband internet service.

The FCC says that their proposed rules align with the Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act, signed into law in November 2021, which includes a provision requiring the FCC to adopt rules to address broadband access discrimination.

Read the FCC’s Fact Sheet on eliminating digital discrimination.

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