Coverage Areas:  National |  South Carolina |  Aiken |  Beaufort |  Charleston |  Columbia |  Greenville |  Myrtle Beach |  Rock Hill
Menu

Strong net neutrality protections critical to faith community

WASHINGTON–The chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Communications has urged the Trump administration to keep current net neutrality rules in place because an open internet, he said, is critical to the nation’s faith communities and how they interact with their members.

“Without open internet principles which prohibit paid prioritization, we might be forced to pay fees to ensure that our high-bandwidth content receives fair treatment on the internet,” said Bishop Christopher J. Coyne of Burlington, Vermont.

“Nonprofit communities, both religious and secular, cannot afford to pay to compete with profitable commercialized content,” he said in a Nov. 28 statement.

The concept of an open internet has long been called “net neutrality,” in which internet service providers neither favor nor discriminate against internet users or websites. Neutrality means, for example, providers cannot prioritize one type of content over another, nor can they speed up, slow down or block users access to online content and services.

On Nov. 21, the current chairman of the Federal Communications Commission announced his proposal to roll back rules on neutrality put in place in 2015 by the Obama administration.

Bishop Coyne urged that the current rules remain in place. “Strong net neutrality protections are critical to the faith community to function and connect with our members,” he said.

These protections are “essential to protect and enhance the ability of vulnerable communities to use advanced technology, and necessary for any organization that seeks to organize, advocate for justice or bear witness in the crowded and over-commercialized media environment,” Bishop Coyne said.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in a statement that under his plan, “the federal government will stop micromanaging the internet. Instead, the FCC would simply require internet service providers to be transparent about their practices.”

Bishop Coyne said: “Robust internet protections are vital to enable our archdioceses, dioceses and eparchies, our parishes, schools and other institutions to communicate with each other and our members, to share religious and spiritual teachings, to promote activities online, and to engage people — particularly younger persons — in our ministries.”

The FCC is scheduled to vote on Pai’s proposal at its monthly hearing Dec. 14. Observers predict the vote will fall along party lines. Chairman Pai is Republican as are Commissioners Brendan Carr and Michael O’Rielly. Commissioners Mignon Clyburn and Jessica Rosenworcel are Democrats.

By Catholic News Service

CNS photo/Tony Avelar, EPA: People look at new computers in Cupertino, Calif., Oct. 27, 2016. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops urged the Federal Communications Commission to use “the strongest legal authority available” to “retain open internet regulations.”





  • Diocesan Events Calendar
    View All Events
    Nov 17 Diocese of Charleston Native American Catholic Heritage Celebration
    From the Calendar of Native American Ministry
    Nov 18 Vietnamese Martyrs Celebration
    From the Calendar of Vietnamese Ministry
    Dec 1 Black Catholics Heritage Celebration
    From the Calendar of African American Ministry
    Dec 15 Simbang Gabi for Filipino Catholics
    From the Calendar of Filipino Ministry
    Dec 25 Diocesan Television Christmas Special Fox 21
    From the Calendar of Ethnic Ministries
    Jan 412:00 am Class 2019 Ordination Retreat
    From the Calendar of Diaconate
    Jan 812:00 am Retiro Espiritual de Emmaus
    From the Calendar of Pastoral Juvenil
    Jan 1210:00 am Junta de Equipo Diocesano de Emmaus
    From the Calendar of Pastoral Juvenil
    Feb 911:00 am Ordination of Permanent Deacons
    From the Calendar of Diaconate