Net neutrality is the principle that internet service providers (ISPs) must enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source and without favoring or blocking specific services or websites. Title II of the Communication Act provides the legal foundation for net neutrality and prevents ISPs from slowing down and blocking websites or charging apps and sites extra fees to reach an audience.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has opened a public proceeding to roll back net neutrality protections instituted in 2015, and subsequently affirmed by court rulings, and to classify home and mobile ISPs as common carriers under Title II. The proposed changes to eliminate Net Neutrality may create an unfair advantage and allow priority of transmission solely based on financial ability to pay.
With the growth of Internet use for e-Government (filing taxes, applying for Medicare, etc.), job applications, and email usage, libraries are often the only available option for people who do not have access to a personal computer (PC) at home. For WLS alone, the growth of public access PCs grew 60% from 2005-2015. In addition, libraries have turned to electronic resources to meet demand and supplement their collections. In 2015, WLS had over 789,000 electronic materials available to the over 900,000 residents of Westchester County. Even slight differences in Internet transmission can make a significant difference to our digital information users.
Libraries, along with other not-for-profits, should not be penalized to achieve priority access simply due to smaller financial budgets. The same quality access should be afforded to online educational and noncommercial content as to entertainment and for-profit offerings.
Libraries rely on the internet to collect, create and disseminate essential information. Please help us make our voices heard by taking a few minutes to send an important email. The sites below both have advocacy tools to make it easy:
American Library Association (ALA) – to send a message to the FCC to Save Net Neutrality
Battle for the Net – to be a part of July 12 Internet-wide Day of Action to Save Net Neutrality
The first comment deadline is July 17 – so take action TODAY!