Published 12/11/17

PPC NA Capitol313

Public Policy Committee News Alerts v. 3 n. 12, December 2017

Public Policy Committee News Alerts support the committee's mission to monitor public policy issues and keep the ARLIS/NA membership informed. The monthly alerts are intended to be conversation starters, help members keep up on public policy issues, and alert members to new developments. Previous issues can be found at https://arlisna.org/news/public-policy-news-alerts

The December issue is devoted to the topic of Net Neutrality.

What is net neutrality?
Net neutrality is the idea that internet service providers (ISP) are not allowed to slow down, prohibit, or in other ways impede access to websites, applications, or online data. In practical terms, they cannot discriminate against people's access to the internet by charging more to access information, or allowing faster access to those who can pay more for this public utility.

What does net neutrality have to do with libraries/librarians?
Net neutrality is important to intellectual freedom, freedom of speech, and access to information. If access to the internet becomes regulated by the ability to pay higher fees for certain types of content, many libraries, museums, and other non-profit organizations will be forced to choose between providing crucial services and providing full access to the internet.

How do I advocate for net neutrality?
The FCC votes on Thursday, December 14, 2017. Do not wait to contact your Congressional representatives to express your opposition to repealing net neutrality.

  • Call and write to members of Congress. Visit BattlefortheNet.com for quick links and contact information for your representatives. 
  • John Oliver made a shortcut to the hard-to-find FCC comment page:  gofccyourself.com. Next to the 17-108 link (Restoring Internet Freedom), click on "express" (on the right side) and follow the steps.
  • Learn more about this important intellectual freedom issue.
  • Spread the word!

Who will be affected if net neutrality is repealed?
A rollback of net neutrality will adversely affect communities of color, small businesses, and low-income and rural communities, as well as users around the globe. 

Who is opposed to net neutrality?
Opponents of net neutrality include sectors of the telecommunications industry, including companies such as Verizon, Comcast and AT&T. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai is closely aligned with these companies on this issue. Those who wish to change the net neutrality rule have argued through media campaigns that their proposed change is "no big deal" and that open internet proponents are vastly overreacting. Yet open internet advocates, including the New York state attorney general, have charged that as many as half of the nearly 22 million comments submitted to the FCC  may have been fabricated, making it difficult to interpret public opinion on net neutrality. 

Want to know more?
Net neutrality in the news:

Net neutrality resources: