Congresswoman Eva M. Clayton (Retired)177 Northside Dr.Lake GastonLittleton, NC 27850
Dear Office of the Secretary:I would like to submit these comments in response to the May 28
Request for WrittenSubmissions in the matter of Electronic Digital Media Devices
Inv. No. 337-TA-796.I had the honor of representing the people of North Carolina’s First Congressional District in theUnited States House of Representatives from 1993 to 2003. During that time, I worked on two of the most comprehensive telecommunications bills to date and served as co-chair of the RuralCaucus and president of my freshman class. Looking back, it is evermore clear to me that protecting rural and minority communities in North Carolina and across the nation aroundtelecommunications and technology was extremely important. As a result of that work, I amkeenly aware and continue to advocate to close the “digital divide” (inequalities betweenindividuals, households, businesses, and geographic areas at different socioeconomic and other demographic levels) to ensure all Americans are being granted fair access to, and use of, moderntechnology.It is my concern that if the Commission rules in favor of Apple’s patents, including one allegedlyon a rectangle with rounded corners, and as a result issues a wide-reaching exclusion order onSamsung’s smartphones and tablets, that the digital divide in America may in fact widen.Whether the reason is physical access to the technology or simply being priced out of the market,more minority Americans are turning to wireless options to access the Internet. Recent datashows that more Americans in communities of color are skipping over wired networks and relyon wireless access to the Internet. According to Pew Research, over 60 percent of Latino andAfrican American Internet users rely on their mobile device as their primary source of Internetaccess. Samsung provides millions of consumers, many of whom are minorities, with affordableand quality wireless broadband devices. If these devices are removed from the market, and prevented from passing Customs in the future, consumers who do not have home Internet accesswould have fewer affordable options for 4G devices and plans.An October 2012 report by George Washington University found that 29 percent of Americansstill did not have home Internet access, most of them poorer and less educated. 99 percent of households making $150,000 or more had access, compared to only 57 percent making $15,000or less –many of whom live in rural America. This is particularly troubling as 71 percent of teenssay that Internet sources are the primary source for completing school projects, according to a2012 FCC report. Denying affordable wireless broadband devices and plans to Americanswidens the digital divide and hurts students from poorer communities.