The New York Times reports:
WASHINGTON — When President Obama laid out his vision for strict regulation of Internet access last month, he was voicing views thought to be held by many at the most liberal end of the Democratic Party.
A few days later, however, the N.A.A.C.P., the National Urban League and the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition sent representatives, including the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, to tell Tom Wheeler, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (F.C.C.), that they thought Mr. Obama’s call to regulate broadband Internet service as a utility would harm minority communities by stifling investment in underserved areas and entrenching already dominant Internet companies.
Their displeasure should not be read as a sign that most civil rights organizations were unhappy with Mr. Obama’s plan, however. When it comes to the details of Internet regulation, groups that otherwise have much common ground simply don’t see eye to eye.
The League of United Latin American Citizens, for example, does not view “Internet access as an essential service like electricity or water,” the Times reports.
“The civil rights community is like every sector anywhere. While from the outside it seems like a monolith, it is not,” said Cheryl A. Leanza, a policy adviser for the United Church of Christ Office of Communication. Though she was part of the 11-member group that included Mr. Jackson, she asked the chairman to embrace the president’s plan.
The debate is part of a vast campaign to lobby the five F.C.C. commissioners as they consider net neutrality, the thought that all Internet traffic should be treated equally, and whether to reclassify broadband as a more heavily regulated service, the Times writes.