The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is deadlocked, and will remain so until the Biden Administration nominates, and the Senate confirms, a fifth commissioner. But we desperately need a functional FCC now: millions of people are without reliable Internet access in the midst of a pandemic, kids are sitting outside Taco Bell to do their homework, and people need to access information about how to get a vaccine. Meanwhile ISPs are imposing arbitrary data caps and there is nothing stopping them from kicking people off the Internet if they’re unable to pay their bills. The Biden Administration needs to nominate a fifth commissioner who doesn’t have ties to the media and telecom industries and will stand up to the ISPs, who supports reinstating net neutrality, and who will expand Broadband and ensure everyone—especially low-income neighborhoods and communities of color who have experienced the greatest harm by the digital divide—has affordable access to the Internet.

Send a message to the White House and your Senators to demand a functioning FCC!

To: bftn
From: [Your Name]

I’m writing to urge you to appoint a fifth commissioner to the Federal Communications Commission. During the COVID-19 pandemic, FCC action is urgently needed to bridge the digital divide so that all people have affordable internet access enabling them to stay safe while working and learning remotely. Right now, nearly 80 million people in the U.S. do not have adequate broadband at home—with poor families and people of color disproportionately disconnected. The White House must fully staff, and place a high priority on, media and telecommunications policy.

There are too many critical actions for the FCC to take, including implementing the new emergency broadband benefit; remedying previous neglect of the Lifeline program supporting low-income access to communications; approving emergency waivers for E-rate funded infrastructure to be opened up for remote education; the 2018 proceeding that can turn back broadcast media consolidation; a long-delayed proceeding addressing the predatory costs of communication for incarcerated people and access to communications for disabled incarcerated people; and reinstating net neutrality and reclassification of broadband internet as a Title II service.

I’m calling on you to ensure that these critical efforts are not stalled in a deadlocked FCC by seating a fifth commissioner as soon as possible. We can’t afford inaction and compromises when we are so heavily dependent on affordable, reliable Internet access to live our lives.