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FCC Establishes Regulations to End Disadvantageous Internet Access for Low-Income Communities

The Federal Communications Commission has approved new regulations to eliminate discrimination in internet access, marking the first major digital civil rights policy in the United States.

The rules allow the FCC to investigate instances of discrimination by broadband providers against communities based on income, race, ethnicity, and other protected classes. Additionally, the regulations seek to address disparities in investment of services for different neighborhoods and the “digital divide” experienced by many communities due to regional or socioeconomic inequality.

FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel emphasized that broadband is essential infrastructure and that the rules will help ensure equal access to the internet for everyone, regardless of their background or location.

The new regulations give the agency the power to scrutinize discriminatory practices by internet service providers in building, upgrading, or maintaining internet access. The FCC also hopes to streamline the process for reporting digital service inequities and establish an official record of discrimination.

While the telecommunications industry has expressed opposition to the regulations, digital advocacy groups have praised the new rules and urged the FCC to take further action to ensure oversight powers.

The FCC is also expected to reinstate net neutrality rules and aims to connect every U.S. household to quality internet service by 2030, independent of income or identity.

Experts suggest that community groups and local organizations will play a crucial role in addressing complaints and ensuring that the benefits of these decisions are felt by the communities affected by discrimination.

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