Rep. Keith Ellison thinks mobile broadband like the 3G and 4G you get on your phone deserves the same net neutrality protection the FCC is considering granting traditional wired broadband.
If the FCC approves net neutrality, internet providers would be barred from charging companies extra for an exclusive high-speed internet connection. Net neutrality aims to keep the playing field level between the Googles and Netflixes and basement start-up companies.
Ellison co-authored a letter with California Democrat Rep. Maxine Waters delivered to the FCC yesterday arguing protection should be extended to mobile broadband too, because communities of color disproportionately rely on it.
The letter claims 43 percent of African Americans and 60 percent of Latinos use their cell phones as their primary means of accessing the internet.
"Major mobile broadband providers have already blocked or hindered popular business tools such as mobile payments, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services, and streaming video," he and Rep. Waters wrote. "Strong rules that guarantee an Open Internet are important to minority-owned businesses."
Minnesota Democrat Reps. Betty McCollum and Rick Nolan signed the letter along with 26 other Democrats from the House.
Ellison's office has not responded to an interview request we put in last night after the letter was made public. You can read the full letter below:
Send news tips to Ben Johnson.