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Net neutrality protections still in place (for now); ALA releases new FAQ

As many may recall, the FCC published its new net neutrality rules in the Federal Register in late February. This publication usually sets the clock ticking for the 60 days from which new regulations will take effect. In this case, however, the FCC must first get approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), then publish a notice in the Federal Register announcing OMB approval and announcing the effective date for when net neutrality protections will end. That date is still unknown.

A small portion of the December 2017 order will take effect today (mostly cosmetic changes), but the bulk of the order (including the part of the decision that reclassified internet service) will not go into effect for a while longer, meaning strong net neutrality protections are still in place for the time being. In the meantime, work continues to advocate that Congress use the Congressional Review Act to roll back the December order, ALA and others are considering how best to support legal challenges in court, and state-level legislation and executive orders continue to be debated.

To help the library community better understand this critical issue, ALA Washington Office’s Senior Fellow Robert Bocher has crafted a Frequently Asked Questions document. The FAQ provides background information on previous FCC actions and court decisions on net neutrality going back over a decade and – in going forward – it reviews the possible impact of the FCC’s recent decision. In addition, the FAQ explains why an open internet is important to libraries and ALA’s commitment to intellectual freedom. References to more information on net neutrality also are provided.

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Ellen Satterwhite

Ellen Satterwhite a Washington Office Policy Fellow and Vice President of the Glen Echo Group. She has years of experience at the intersection of technology and policy, including as a co-author of the FCC’s National Broadband Plan and as Consumer Policy Advisor to the Commission. Satterwhite earned a Master’s in Public Affairs from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin.

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