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President Trump loses another round in court on immigrant “dreamers.” Also on today’s rundown: Environmentalists tell New York Gov. Cuomo to match words with action; California lawmakers wear jeans, taking a stand against sexual violence; and Airbnb is called out for “secret tax deals.”

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Depressed by Dial-up, Groups Call for Action on Broadband, Net Neutrality

February 15, 2010

PHILADLEPHIA - They say they're depressed by dial-up, and they want "Affordable Broadband for All." So, hundreds of community, cultural and media organizations in Pennsylvania and across the country have declared today a day of action, to call attention to the need for affordable, high-speed access to an open Internet in communities of all sizes.

Bryan Mercer with the Media Mobilizing Project says too many Pennsylvanians don't have the tools they need to take full advantage of what the Internet has to offer, which sets up a "haves and have-nots" scenario.

"It's going to build on top of the current inequality in our society, rather than the Internet being able to act as a leveling solution to many of these problems that we're trying to solve."

Mercer says communication is a right of all people in Pennsylvania. He notes that Congress and Internet providers are essential players in determining where the issue goes from here.

"Good policy coming out of D.C. and good practices from Internet service providers is important to make sure that that right is met."

Making "net neutrality" the rule would prevent Internet providers from blocking or slowing down certain kinds of online content in favor of others. Providers such as Comcast argue that they should have the power to operate their networks however they see fit, but the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) claims it has broad jurisdiction over many forms of interstate communication, including the Internet.

Mercer says a survey done by his group in the Philadelphia area shows 40 percent of residents without access to high-speed Internet. Groups around the state are asking federal regulators and lawmakers to take steps to increase broadband access and ensure network neutrality.

An event is planned for this evening, 6:00-8:00 p.m., at the Tuttleman Learning Center, Room 105, Temple University Main Campus, Philadelphia.

Tom Joseph, Public News Service - PA