Today, the American Library Association (ALA) and the Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT) urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in a letter (pdf) to adopt strong, enforceable net neutrality rules essential to preserving freedom of speech, educational achievement and economic growth online. In the letter to the FCC, the organizations call for the FCC to set the bar higher than the “commercially reasonable” standard the agency had proposed–whether using Title II or Section 706 of the Communications Act — to preserve the open nature of the Internet.
“At this moment, we owe it to the nation’s library patrons, students, entrepreneurs and consumers to adopt enforceable net neutrality policies that prohibit practices such as ‘paid prioritization’ that would undermine Internet openness,” said ALA President Courtney Young. “The FCC’s proposed ‘commercially reasonable’ standard is not strong enough to preserve the culture of the Internet as an open platform for free speech, innovation, education, research and learning.”
“We are concerned that the FCC’s original proposal would allow Internet providers to prioritize or degrade Internet traffic–specifically content, services, or applications offered by libraries and educational institutions,” Young added. “Libraries, educational institutions, innovators and consumers increasingly operate as both consumers and content creators, and the Commission’s rules must protect both sides of the Internet access equation.”
More than 77 million people use public library Internet access every year to access resources, take classes, conduct research and develop and share content online. As a long-time advocate for intellectual freedom and equitable access to information, the American Library Association urges the FCC to move swiftly to restore network neutrality protections that preserve the culture and tradition of the Internet.
Learn more about ALA’s network neutrality advocacy efforts.