Digital Discrimination with activist fists raised in the air
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), the President’s advisor on digital equity and broadband, offered its perspective on the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) forthcoming digital discrimination rules.

NTIA cited NDIA in their comments and highlighted three considerations for the FCC as it finalizes the digital discrimination rules: 

  1. A provider’s practice or policy can be discriminatory, even if unintentional. The FCC should ensure that the definition of digital discrimination encompasses intentional and accidental practices that impact marginalized people. 
  2. The Broadband Equity Access and Deployment (BEAD) program’s goals align with the mandate to prevent digital discrimination.
  3. The FCC should allow outside research to inform its understanding of digital discrimination.  

NDIA commends NTIA for contributing these perspectives in their comments and encourages the FCC to develop strong digital discrimination rules that ensure broadband equity throughout all US communities. Throughout the process of defining “digital discrimination,” NDIA has consistently emphasized the importance of the first point above. We believe discrimination does not have to be intentional; what matters is the behavior and its result.  

Significantly, NTIA cites NDIA and Common Sense Media’s recommendation that the FCC look for discrimination at a local level to identify the disparities between and within communities. NTIA states: “As some commenters point out, digital discrimination will most often be detectable at the local level, rather than through national statistics. We therefore strongly recommend that the Commission consider studies like these in the same fashion and under the same terms as it would consider any other evidence that may be presented with a complaint of digital discrimination rather than making sweeping determinations about research during this rulemaking.”

To learn more about NDIA’s perspective on digital discrimination, check out our blog post that highlights community perspectives, along with NDIA’s initial comments and reply comments to the FCC.