MediaJustice Demands Biden Pressure Senate Leadership to Confirm FCC Nominee Gigi Sohn to Bring More Families Online
Today, President Biden welcomed companies, including AT&T, Verizon and Comcast, to the White House to announce that the Biden-Harris Administration secured commitments from 20 leading internet providers to either increase speeds or cut prices, making sure they all offer high-speed, high-quality internet plans for no more than $30/month to households eligible for the Affordable Connectivity Program.
The Affordable Connectivity Program was recently created by Congress to replace the temporary Emergency Broadband Benefit Program, both efforts aided by MediaJustice and other digital rights advocates who pressured for the growth of these programs, worked directly with the FCC to make the process easier for eligible communities to sign up, and pressured Internet Service Providers to participate.
Said Steven Renderos, executive director of MediaJustice:
“Instead of applauding corporations that continue to fail families needing to stay connected to healthcare, jobs, school and one another through the pandemic, President Biden should be applying pressure to Senate leadership to confirm his Federal Communications Commission nominee Gigi Sohn. While Sohn’s confirmation has stalled for over six months, preventing the full functioning of the FCC, these Internet Service Providers watched their profits rise as 21 million Americans go without home broadband. These companies don’t need a White House ceremony, they need the oversight and regulation that only a complete FCC can provide.
“As we recover from the pandemic, predict an urgent health crisis precipitated by a Supreme Court decision depriving Americans of their reproductive rights, and head toward midterm elections, Black and brown families will continue to be disproportionately harmed by being left offline because they cannot afford an internet connection. The commitments to increasing speed and quality of internet connections are just pledges and do nothing to improve infrastructure, especially in rural areas and on tribal lands that are still not connected.
“There is no shortage of crucial items piling up for the FCC’s agenda that we demand be addressed. President Biden’s efforts have not been nearly enough and we urge him to work with Senator Schumer to get the votes necessary to confirm Sohn now and get the FCC fully running.”
MediaJustice has repeatedly called for the confirmation of Gigi Sohn and a full FCC to address the following:
- Finish updating the FCC’s broadband maps to ensure the billions of dollars appropriated by Congress in the bipartisan infrastructure bill are distributed equitably and to areas that need it most;
- Restore the agency’s authority to regulate broadband under Title II of the Communications Act and restore net neutrality rules;
- Strengthen programs created to ensure low-income people can afford communications services, like Lifeline and the Affordable Connectivity Program;
- Create rules to ensure our nation’s communications networks are more reliable and resilient to natural disasters, the climate crisis, and other threats;
- Halt the dangerous trend of increased consolidation and monopolization within the broadcast and telecommunications sectors, and much more.
For interviews, please contact Christina DiPasquale at [email protected].
MediaJustice is dedicated to building a grassroots movement for a more just and participatory media—fighting for racial, economic, and gender justice in a digital age. MediaJustice boldly advances communication rights, access, and power for communities harmed by persistent dehumanization, discrimination and disadvantage. Home of the #MediaJusticeNetwork, comprised of more than 100 grassroots partners, we envision a future where everyone is connected, represented, and free.