The internet is quickly becoming an essential utility, but poor communities in Philadelphia can't afford access, and are also facing rising energy costs. On February 15th, as part of MAG-Net's National Day of Action, Media Mobilizing Project hosted a community forum at Temple University called "The Bills Are Too High."
In a city where unemployment has climbed over 10% and nearly one and four live in poverty, paying the bills is a struggle for many. From electricity, to cable, gas, and internet, federal and state actions are making it harder every day for Philadelphians to meet their basic needs.
- The beginning of this year marked increases as high as 40% in the electric bills throughout Central PA.
- January 2011 will see more increases for all those in the Philadelphia area served by PECO/ Excelon because of deregulation.
- With Internet and Cable major companies like Verizon and AT&T are pushing federal law makers to allow discrimination of content on the internet, a move that would make the internet more expensive for everyone.
- Along with this Comcast is looking to buy NBC/Universal. From past experiences of deals like this such a move means less channels for viewers and higher monthly bills.
- And many people going through the winter without heat were almost kept in the cold because of a lack of funds for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). More funds were distributed but the program is under extra stress because of the economic down-turn.
Guest Speakers Included:
- Chris Rabb, Founder of AfroNetizen.com
- Juliet Fink, Director of Education at Philadelphia FIGHT
- Lance Haver, Director of Consumer Affairs for the City of Philadelphia
- Bekhyon Yim, Legislative Lawyer on Energy Policy
And members of:
Media Mobilizing Project, The Philadelphia Student Union, and The Philadelphia Digital Justice Coalition