Local work to pass Internet Choice ordinances (in San Francisco in 2016 and in Oakland in 2021) have culminated in a new proposed FCC order (for the whole country!) to prohibit exclusive marketing agreements between property owners/managers and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) that limit or restrict choices for people residing in apartments.
A coalition of Internet freedom groups, economic justice organizations and alternative ISP’s is working together to spread Internet Choice legislation beyond San Francisco.
Media Alliance is an anchor for the Oakland Internet Choice Coalition which includes the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Greenlining Institute, The Utility Reform Network, Color of Change, MediaJustice, Oakland Tenants Union and alternative ISPs MonkeyBrains, Sonic, Paxio and People’s Open Internet.
Internet Choice legislation protects a tenants right to choose from any available Internet provider without fear of retaliation. This works against exclusive agreements with large incumbent carriers who often incentivize landlords in multi-unit buildings to restrict resident’s choices.
Internet choice also opens up the market for alternative providers by allowing expansion into the dense properties that can provide a sustainable toehold for expanding service throught a metropolitan area. More competition means better service quality and lower prices.
Internet Choice also lets people vote with their dollars to support providers that do things they value like: honoring Net Neutrality, protecting user privacy by not selling browsing data and not donating to problematic political figures. (Here’s looking at you AT&T).
Our legislation is based on 2016 legislation written by Supervisor Mark Farrell in San Francisco, which was enacted in SF, and is sponsored in Oakland by District 6 council member Noel Gallo. It has won the support of SEIU – Alameda County, ACCE – Oakland, and the Unity Council.
The legislation will be heard at Oakland’s Community and Economic Development committee on September 28th.
In Berkeley, Council member Lori Droste is spearheading a similar effort.
For more on Internet Choice, visit the website at https://oaklandinternetchoice.com
If you are an organization with Oakland-based constituents that would like to sign on to a community letter of support for the legislation, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to get hooked up.
If you are an Oakland resident that would like to support this, mark your calender for September 28, and take a few minutes to call in to the committee hearing on September 28th and voice your support!
We’ll put the call-in information here as soon as it is published.