Press Releases

NAACP, CWA Call for ‘Strong, Legally Enforceable Rules’ on Open Internet

Monday, July 17, 2017

NAACP, CWA Call for ‘Strong, Legally Enforceable Rules’ on Open Internet

Washington, D.C. -- The Communications Workers of America and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) support action by the Federal Communications Commission to adopt strong, legally enforceable rules to safeguard an open Internet and to give the highest priority to investment and job creation.  

In comments submitted to the FCC today, CWA and the NAACP said that the Commission must “protect the openness that is critical to the Internet’s success” while encouraging “investment by broadband providers and application, content and service providers.” Read the full filing

CWA and the NAACP called on the Commission to adopt four “bright-line” rules applicable to fixed and wireless broadband Internet access service providers. These rules are:

  • No Blocking.
  • No Throttling.
  • No Unreasonable Discrimination.
  • Enhanced Transparency.

“The urgent need to upgrade our nation’s communications networks to world-class standards and to close the digital divide demands that the Commission give the highest priority to investment and job creation in formulating open Internet principles and rules. The Commission must ensure that its Open Internet rules do not have the unintended consequence of dampening the private investment needed to build the next-generation networks that will bring our nation’s broadband capability up to global standards and create and maintain good jobs,” they wrote.

That’s why the rules adopted by the FCC to ensure an Open Internet also “must ensure that there is sufficient future investment and job creation to propel not only economic opportunity, but a permanent bridging of the digital divide.  Building sufficient capacity to transport the video- and data-rich applications on the Internet is a key component to ensuring that people are not relegated to ‘slow lanes’ or degraded service online.”

Most important, CWA and the NAACP believe it is absolutely essential to establish a solid legal basis for Commission enforcement of the Open Internet rules.

“Classification of broadband Internet access service as a Title II telecommunications services represents one approach.  Another approach, originally proposed by Chairman Wheeler in the 2014 Open Internet Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and endorsed at that time by CWA and the NAACP, would follow the blueprint provided by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in its 2014 Verizon decision. In that decision the D.C. Circuit suggested that the Commission could adopt no blocking and anti-discrimination rules so long as the Commission also allowed negotiated agreements between broadband and edge providers that meet a ‘commercially reasonable’ standard,” they wrote.

“It is long past time to provide a sound, sustainable legal basis for Commission enforcement of open Internet rules. The repeated reconsideration of these rules distracts public and policymaker attention from the core challenges we face in broadband policy: how to stimulate the hundreds of billions of dollars of investment needed to upgrade our nation’s wired and wireless networks to world class standards;  how to maintain and create good, career jobs in the industry; and how to close the digital divide so that every American, regardless of race, income, or geography, has access to affordable, high-speed Internet.”

Table 1. Capital Expenditures, 2014- 2016

$ millions

 

2014

2015

2016

Three Year Total 2014-2016

Percent of

Industry Total

AT&T

$ 21,433

$ 20,015

$ 22,408

$ 63,856

21.2%

Verizon

$ 17,191

$ 17,775

$ 17,059

$ 52,025

17.3%

Comcast

$ 7,420

$ 8,499

$ 9,135

$ 25,054

8.3%

Sprint

$ 5,952

$ 6,004

$ 6,972

$ 18,928

6.3%

T-Mobile

$ 4,317

$ 4,724

$ 4,702

$ 13,743

4.6%

Charter

$ 2,221

$ 1,840

$ 5,325

$ 9,386

3.1%

CenturyLink

$ 3,047

$ 2,872

$ 2,981

$ 8,900

3.0%

Time Warner

$ 4,097

$ 4,446

-

$ 8,543

2.8%

DirectTV

$ 3,225

$ 3,081

-

$ 6,306

2.1%

Frontier

$ 688

$ 863

$ 1,401

$ 2,952

1.0%

Windstream

$ 787

$ 1,055

$ 990

$ 2,832

0.9%

DISH

$ 1,001

$ 761

$ 603

$ 2,365

0.8%

Cablevision (Altice after 6/2016)

$ 892

$ 816

$ 626

$ 2,334

0.8%

US Cellular

$ 605

$ 581

$ 443

$ 1,629

0.5%

Network Operators Total

$ 72,876

$ 73,332

$ 72,645

$ 218,853

72.8%

           

Google

$ 11,014

$ 9,950

$ 10,212

$ 31,176

10.4%

Microsoft

$ 5,485

$ 5,944

$ 8,343

$ 19,772

6.6%

Amazon

$ 4,893

$ 4,589

$ 6,737

$ 16,219

5.4%

Facebook

$ 1,831

$ 2,523

$ 4,491

$ 8,845

2.9%

LinkedIn

$ 547

$ 507

$ 865

$ 1,919

0.6%

eBay

$ 622

$ 668

$ 626

$ 1,916

0.6%

Yahoo

$ 396

$ 543

$ 11

$ 950

0.3%

Twitter

$ 202

$ 347

$ 219

$ 768

0.3%

Netflix

$ 70

$ 91

$ 108

$ 269

0.1%

Vonage

$ 12

$ 17

$ 26

$ 55

0.0%

Etsy

$ 1

$ 11

$ 36

$ 48

0.0%

Zynga

$ 9

$ 8

$ 10

$ 27

0.0%

Applications Providers Total

$ 25,082

$ 25,198

$ 31,684

$ 81,964

27.2%

           

Industry Total

$ 97,958

$ 98,530

$ 104,329

$ 300,817

100.0%

Network providers include 14 largest publicly-traded wireline, wireless, cable, and satellite companies. AT&T acquired DirecTV in 2016. Charter acquired Time Warner in 2016.

Applications providers include 12 largest publicly-traded content, application, and service ("edge") providers.

Sources: SEC Forms 10K, various years

 

Table 2. Jobs at Broadband Network Companies

Far Exceed Jobs at Applications Companies, 2016

Network Providers

Employees

Applications Providers

Employees

AT&T

268,000

Amazon

341,400

Verizon

160,900

Google

72,053

Comcast

159,000

Youtube

owned by Google

Charter

91,500

Microsoft*

63,000

T-Mobile

50,000

Facebook

17,048

CenturyLink

40,000

LinkedIn

10,113

Frontier

28,300

Uber

6,700

Sprint

28,000

eBay*

6,600

Dish Network

16,000

Netflix

4,700

Altice USA (formerly Cablevision)

16,000

Twitter

3,583

Windstream

11,870

Vonage

1,883

US Cellular

6,300

Zynga

1,681

MediaCom

4,410

Etsy

1,043

Cinn Bell

3,400

Mozilla

630

FairPoint

2,500

Lyft

695

Total

886,180

Total

530,434

   

Total excluding Amazon

189,034

Network providers include 15 largest telecom, video, wireless employers, excluding privately-held Cox for which data is not available. Network providers' employees are almost all in the US.

Applications providers include 15 largest content, application, and service ("edge") providers. Many applications providers' employees are located overseas. EBay and Microsoft's employee numbers are for the US only. Amazon employs many warehouse employees.

Source: SEC Forms 10-K for year ending 2016; CapitalIQ estimates for non-public companies

 

Table 3. Employment of African Americans and Hispanics Network Providers Compared to Applications Providers

Percent Share of Workforce

 

African American

Hispanic

 

2016

2014

2016

2014

Wireline Communications

14%

14%

10%

11%

Wireless Communications

14%

12%

13%

12%

Facebook

2%

2%

4%

4%

Google

2%

2%

4%

3%

Yahoo

2%

2%

4%

4%

LinkedIn

3%

1%

5%

4%

All US Workers

12%

10%

17%

16%

Current Population Survey, pooled 2015/2016 and 2012/2013 data (wireline, wireless); CPS 2013 and 2016 (all workers); "Facebook Diversity Update: Positive Hiring Trends Show Progress," July 14, 2016 and "Building a More Diverse Workforce, July 8, 2014; Google: "Making progress on diversity and inclusion," June 29, 2017 and "Getting to Work on Workforce Diversity," May 2014; "Yahoo’s 2016 Diversity Report," Oct. 31,

2016 and 2014 data; "LinkedIn’s 2016 Workforce Diversity" and 2014 data.


CWA represents 700,000 workers in private and public sector employment who work in telecommunications and information technology; the airline industry; news media, broadcast and cable television; education, health care and public service; manufacturing, and other fields.

The NAACP is our nation’s oldest, largest and most widely-recognized grassroots-based civil rights organization, with over 500,000 members and more than 2,200 NAACP units nationwide, in every state, and on military bases in Italy, in Germany, Japan and Korea.

CWA and the NAACP have long recognized that high-speed Internet is the essential communications infrastructure of the 21st century, providing a critical foundation for economic growth, job creation, and democratic communications.

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