FCC not Helping Minorities Claims Minority Media & Telecom CouncilFCC July 19th, 2010
Lindsey Sutphin, Reporter-Researcher, BroadbandBreakfast.com
WASHINGTON, July 19, 2010. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is not making adequate achievements in including minorities and women, according to David Honig, president and executive director of the Minority Media & Telecom Council (MMTC). As a matter of fact, he says market barriers and lack of opportunity are decreasing minority involvement in the broadband, telecom, and media industries.
At the Eighth Annual Access to Capital and Telecommunications Policy Conference, Honig presented a “report card” for the state of social justice in broadband. He said that America’s most important industries, which certainly include broadband, should reflect the social landscape of the country itself. The key indicators of minority broadband involvement – diversity of ownership, diversity in industry, and closing the digital divide – all show a net loss in the last few years.
Honig said the MMTC had been involved and active in increasing minority participation in broadband, but said “We prevented a disaster from turning into a catastrophe.” He said entrepreneurs have one of the hardest occupations, and that the MMTC should focus on finding and calling out market barriers that make it even more difficult for minorities to enter the broadband industry.
For the first year in quite some time, the FCC has made no decisions concerning equal employment opportunities. Honig said the FCC has bright and well-meaning personnel, but they are too passive. In 2007, the FCC passed a ruling that made advertisement discrimination illegal. However, he said the FCC has yet to appoint someone to oversee this rule, and said “In almost three years the FCC has not had compliance to the first civil rights ruling since the ‘70s, and the first one passed without opposition.”
He also said that the FCC has a ruling that should require cable companies to reach out to minorities and women, which has not happened.
Honig said the goals of MMTC are to build institutions, support the enforcement of the National Broadband Plan, and to organize and become more active in bringing about change through blogging and lobbying.
Overall, he said they want to avoid the struggles minorities faced when the country transitioned from agricultural to industrial systems as the transition from industrial to digital industry happens. In 2042, when the majority of the nation is expected to be made up of current minorities, he does not want people to look back on this time and wonder why they were not more active in increasing diversity in broadband.