Trillium's Influence Registers in National Debate on Open Internet
Shareholders who believe open Internet policies are critical to the health of America’s economy and society are making an impression in the heated discussion and debate about the future of the Internet currently underway in Washington, D.C.
Roll Call, the influential newspaper and online publication that covers Capitol Hill, noted this week that the “net neutrality debate is stirring up passions across the spectrum from an order of Benedictine nuns in Kansas to lobbying giants such as AT&T.”
Roll Call reports that “some supporters of strong net neutrality rules that apply to wireless broadband are taking their case right to the companies” by filing shareholder proposals with AT&T, Verizon and Comcast to maintain open access to the Internet on wireless networks.
The open Internet shareholder initiative was organized by Trillium Asset Management Corporation and Open MIC, a non-profit that presses media companies for more responsible management policies and practices.
The shareholder proposals note that the principle of non-discrimination on the Internet “has been an engine for economic growth, empowering millions of America’s small and medium-sized businesses through direct access to the Internet.”
Open Internet policies on wireless networks have particular importance for minority and economically disadvantaged communities, the proposals state, because people of color access the Internet via cell phones at a much greater rate than their white counterparts, according to recent research.
While the shareholder proposals are intended for consideration at the companies’ annual meetings in 2011, rules regarding network neutrality are currently being weighed by the Federal Communications Commission, which is expected to vote on a new plan at its December 21 meeting.
Initial indications are that the FCC may provide a broad exemption from network neutrality rules for wireless broadband networks – the fastest growing segment of the Internet. Without including wireless networks, there will be a major loophole in any new regulations.
Read the entire Roll Call article: http://www.rollcall.com/news/-201566-1.html