What if I told you we could use empty TV channels to connect millions of Americans to the Internet? New technology would do just that. But the powerful TV broadcast lobby is standing in the way with a multimillion-dollar misinformation campaign.
The Federal Communications Commission is about to make a critical choice: support a better Internet for everyone or side with the broadcasters and let the United State slide further behind the rest of the world in Web access.
The fight for universal Internet access is now being waged over "white spaces"-- empty frequencies between television channels on the public airwaves. New devices can use these vacant airwaves to connect millions to the information superhighway, including many people still stuck on dial-up--or without any service at all.
Here's the problem. The National Association of Broadcasters wants to keep white spaces for themselves. This week, they're blitzing Washington with television ads and lobbyists. They're making outright false claims that any new devices will interfere with over-the-air TV broadcasts.
Their scare tactics are aimed at convincing the FCC and Congress to stifle new technologies that can revolutionize our airwaves. Unless we act now, the FCC could side with the broadcasters and deny us one of our last opportunities to deliver a better Internet to more people.
It's a familiar story. Big media companies will use any means to squash new ideas that threaten their control. For too long, our policymakers put the narrow interests of a few conglomerates before innovation, competition and the public good.
Last year we sent 1.5 million letters to Congress and halted the phone and cable industry efforts to kill Net Neutrality. This year, we're fighting to make the Internet available and affordable to everyone. Opening up white spaces is key to creating the healthy competition, consumer choices and technological innovation we need to provide an open Internet to all.
We can win this fight. Take action to open white spaces today.
1. Learn more: Visit our "Save Our Spectrum" initiative to learn more about white spaces.
2. Report back: Did you take action on this issue? Join a conversation with other activists at the Free Press Action Network.
3. Become a Free Press Action Fund member: Our team in Washington needs your help to counter Big Media's lobbyists. Your donation of $50 or more will make sure public interest advocates represent our views before the FCC and on Capitol Hill.