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Nonprofits Ban Together To Petition FCC Over Use Of SMS And Carrier Hurdles

posted 10 Aug 2010, 02:27 by Ramy Caspi

A while back we covered the creation of the Mobile Internet Content Coalition (MICC) created by companies with a business-focus on SMS and its subsequent ecosystem.  Companies like 4INFO, Myxer and mobileStorm all have a vested interest in helping make SMS and the mobile Web as open and free of carrier control as possible, and the MICC was organized to petition the FCC and further this cause.

Turns out companies doing business using SMS aren’t the only ones fed up with how carriers manipulate SMS and limit the industry with their outrageous regulation and over-barring control — nonprofits are too.  Washington-based public interest group Public Knowledge hasfiled a letter to the FCC on behalf of several nonprofits urging the government body to take action on the state of SMS communication and the fact that it’s severely hindered by “layers of obscure, interlocking bureaucracy” that make it hard to innovate, communicate and connect via SMS.

Some of the nonprofits involved include the likes of the American Public MediaCenter for Community Change,  The Humane Society of the United StatesReform Immigration for America and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.  These and other nonprofits have banned together to get behind a petitionPublic Knowledge filed with the FCC back in 2007 asking that it clarify that text messaging is subject to the same nondiscrimination rules as voice communications.  Though the FCC has yet to act on the petition, more and more companies, groups and nonprofits are coming together in support of it.

Nonprofits care about text messaging because they want to use SMS to advance their mission.   Text messaging could be a great way to reach out to supporters, tell them what’s going on, and even raise a little money in the process, but as of lately they’re learning what Catholic Relief Services found out the hard way – text message campaigns can be fickle, and arbitrary carrier rules are not helping.

The problem won’t be going away anytime soon, but with the weight of groups like the MICC and its member companies, along with nationwide nonprofits that are banning together, the FCC will have to take action sooner or later.  Stay tuned.