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Culture

Do ISPs pay minorities to oppose Net neutrality?

A report in The Los Angeles Times takes a look at the financial relationship between ISPs and advocates for minority groups.

The Los Angeles Times has raised questions about the financial relationship between some large telecommunications companies and influential minority groups.

Mignon Clyburn FCC

According to the report, AT&T, Comcast and Verizon Communications have poured big money into the coffers of such groups as the League of United Latin American Citizens, the National Urban League, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

These groups just also happen to support the telecoms' anti-Net neutrality proposals. It's all a big coincidence says the telecoms and minority groups. No pay for play, they contend.

Not everybody at the Federal Communications Commission is convinced.

Net neutrality supporters want to prevent Internet service providers from discriminating against sites, content or platforms. What they also want to prevent, according to Jennifer Martinez, the story's author, is ISPs "from charging more to give some residential and corporate customers priority in delivery online content."

Such a hypothetical scenario might be seen by some to be a potential threat to minority groups, right?

Mignon Clyburn, an African American and a member of the FCC board, obviously considered this possibility too and in a speech in January noted her surprise that the leading minority groups were so hushed up about Net neutrality.

"There has been almost no discussion of how important--how essential--it is for traditionally underrepresented groups to maintain the low barriers to entry that our current open Internet provides," Clyburn had said.

Read the story.