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ALA, ARL and EDUCAUSE file comments to FCC on open Internet protections

The ALA along with the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) and EDUCAUSE filed comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) last night in response to the FCC’s request for comments on the following two issues: 

1. The relationship between open Internet protections and services that are provided over the same last-mile facilities as broadband Internet access service (commonly called “managed” or “specialized” services), and 

2. The application of open Internet rules to mobile wireless Internet access services, which have unique characteristics related to technology, associated application and device markets, and consumer usage. 

The groups’ comments underscore their agreement with concerns the Commission raised in its Public Notice surrounding the treatment of “specialized services.” While the library, higher education, and academic and research library communities support the development of innovative technology and private investment in networks, we believe that an overly broad exemption for specialized services may enable commercial ISPs or broadband providers to use such services to undermine the robust application of network neutrality rules, including nondiscrimination and transparency. 

At the same time, we suggested that private networks, which are used for internal purposes and do not serve the general public, should remain free of traditional telecommunications regulation. 

The comments emphasized that the Commission must ensure that any policy approach that encourages investment in specialized services does not inadvertently limit investment in broadband Internet access service. 

Public and school libraries, academic and research libraries, and colleges and universities are developing new advanced mobile applications to enhance access to research and information from wireless devices. ARL, ALA and EDUCAUSE asked the FCC to apply net neutrality to mobile and other wireless services to ensure that the Internet remains open for users of these increasingly popular technologies.

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