Press Release Rural Broadband Access

Public Knowledge Welcomes Bill Prohibiting Broadband Providers From Digitally Redlining Communities of Color

August 3, 2021 , ,

Last Friday, Rep. Yvette D. Clarke (D-NY) introduced the “Anti-Digital Redlining Act of 2021” to require the Federal Communications Commission to create rules to prohibit digital redlining, and to prohibit exclusive agreements between broadband providers and multidwelling units that limit competition. Public Knowledge commends Rep. Clarke for working to ensure that everyone — regardless of their income or color of their skin — has access to high-quality, affordable broadband.

The following can be attributed to Jenna Leventoff, Senior Policy Counsel at Public Knowledge:

“The same communities that were once redlined by banks and insurance companies now face similar discrimination by some internet service providers, resulting in slow, or no broadband for low-income consumers and people of color. This legislation would put a stop to this practice by requiring the FCC to investigate where digital redlining is occurring and then create rules that would stop it. These rules would ensure that people in the same geographic area have access to comparable internet service, regardless of their income level, race, color, religion, or national origin. 

“This legislation will also promote consumer choice for those living in apartments and condominiums where landlords and broadband providers often enter into agreements that limit customers to just one service provider. By preventing these agreements and requiring building access for competitive providers, the FCC will help ensure that low-income and marginalized communities will no longer be without recourse when their only provider raises prices or degrades service. We sincerely thank Rep. Clarke for introducing legislation that puts people before profits so that more people can access the fast, reliable, and affordable broadband they need.”

You may view our recent blog post — “It’s 2021. Why is Redlining Still Happening?” — to learn more about digital redlining. You may also view our recent blog post, “Your Landlord Might Be Making Deals With Broadband Providers. We Want Them to Stop,” to learn more about exclusive arrangements between landlords and broadband providers.