Comments re recent decisions on network neutrality

I’ve been trying to unravel the intricacies of recent developments on network neutrality.  This report from the Center for Media Justice seems to me the clearest, most cogent and succinct report I have seen.  I thought others might have encountered similar confusion that might be clarified.  To wit:

Message from Malkia Cyril, Executive Director of the Center for Media Justice:

Together, Center for Media Justice and our partners and allies have been plugging away at the issue of net neutrality for a while now. Due to high barriers to entry, traditional media outlets have not included enough diverse voices, or provided content that is significant and relevant to underrepresented groups. Today, the Internet creates a platform where these groups can speak for themselves and on behalf of their communities, to wider audiences. As such, neutral networks grant equal opportunity to every idea and can help ensure that communities of color do not experience the same lack of representation they have in other media platforms.

Last week, shareholders at AT&T showed that they have heard our collective voices.

A shareholder proposal calling upon AT&T Inc. to publicly commit to network neutrality principles on its wireless networks garnered critical support in initial voting results released today at the company’s annual meeting.

The proposal, which was voted on for the first time this year, attracted at least 5.9% of the votes cast in this year’s proxy vote at AT&T, according to preliminary results released by the company.  That percentage could climb higher in the final tabulation.  By garnering support from more than 3 percent of voting shareholders, net neutrality will be assured a continued place on next year’s ballot. Based on the company’s recent share price, the results mean that investors holding stock worth more than $11.4 billion voted in favor of the resolution.

Similar proposals regarding wireless network neutrality are scheduled for votes at the upcoming annual meetings of Verizon Communications on May 3 and Sprint Nextel Corporation on May 15.

The proposals at AT&T and Verizon were filed by Trillium Asset Management (on behalf of its clients), the Nathan Cummings Foundation, the Benedictine Sisters of Mount St. Scholastica in Atchison, Kansas, and several individual investors including Mike D of the Beastie Boys. The proposal at Sprint was filed by the Nathan Cummings Foundation.

Specifically, the proposals ask each company to publicly commit to operate its wireless broadband network “consistent with network neutrality principles – i.e., operate a neutral network with neutral routing along the company’s wireless infrastructure such that the company does not privilege, degrade or prioritize any packet transmitted over its wireless infrastructure based on its source, ownership or destination.”

We would like to congratulate Nathan Cummings for their hard work and success!

Grant Gross, writer for the International Data Group (IDG) news today published an article on the vote.

Read “Net Neutrality Provision Gets 5.9 Percent of AT&T Shareholder Votes” here.

For more background information:

Read more about Network Neutrality, Universal Broadband, and Racial Justice here.

In Solidarity,

malkia cyrilMalkia Cyril

Executive Director, Center for Media Justice

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