“CHICAGO – This week Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai announced plans to roll back net neutrality provisions. The Commission issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to begin the process at its May 18 meeting. The American Library Association (ALA) and its divisions are organizing to protect and preserve the open internet.
Net neutrality is the principle that internet service providers (ISPs) should enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source, and without favoring or blocking specific services or websites. Net neutrality is essential for library and educational institutions to carry out our missions and support freedom of speech, educational achievement, research and economic growth. The internet has become the primary platform for learning, collaboration and interaction among students, faculty, library patrons, local communities and the world.
The ALA has been on the front lines of this battle with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Congress, and the courts for more than a decade, working in coalition with other library and higher education organizations, as well as broader coalitions of net neutrality advocates. Last week, ALA President Julie Todaro penned an op-ed for the Hill reminding Washington how critical an open internet is for access to information and the communities we serve.
Librarians and library workers know that even subtle differences in internet transmission speeds can make a great difference in how a user receives, uses and shares digital information. We must ensure the same quality access to online educational and noncommercial content as to entertainment and for-profit offerings. Without net neutrality, we are at risk of maximizing profits for commercial ISPs and large content providers, and degrading internet access and choice for all.
The ALA and its divisions are preparing the next steps and strategies to maintain hard-won protections. Members can join the effort by blogging, tweeting and sharing why an open internet matters to you, your library and your community. In addition, several net neutrality allies are beginning to collect signatures and deliver them to Chairman Pai. Here are just two: