ALA brings library lens to network neutrality debate in FCC public comments
For Immediate Release
Director, Program on Networks
Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP)
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today the American Library Association (ALA) urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to adopt the legally enforceable network neutrality rules necessary to fulfill library missions and serve communities nationwide. The ALA joined 10 other national higher education and library organizations in filing joint public comments (PDF) with the FCC.
“Network neutrality strikes at the heart of library core values of intellectual freedom and equitable access to information,” said ALA President Courtney Young. “We are extremely concerned that broadband Internet access providers currently have the opportunity and financial incentive to degrade Internet service or discriminate against certain content, services and applications.
“America’s libraries collect, create and disseminate essential information to the public over the Internet, and enable our users to create and distribute their own digital content and applications,” Young continued. “For all these reasons and many more, the rules to be set by the FCC will have an enormous impact on our public, K-12 school, and higher education libraries—as well as our students, educators, researchers, innovators, and learners of all ages.”
The joint comments build on network neutrality principles released July 10 and suggest ways to strengthen the FCC’s proposed rules (released May 15, 2014) to preserve an open internet for libraries, higher education and the communities they serve. For instance, the FCC should:
- explicitly apply open Internet rules to public broadband Internet access service provided to libraries, institutions of higher education and other public interest organizations;
- prohibit “paid prioritization;”
- adopt rules that are technology-neutral and apply equally to fixed and mobile services;
- adopt a re-defined “no-blocking” rule that bars public broadband Internet access providers from interfering with the consumer’s choice of content, applications, or services;
- further strengthen disclosure rules;
- charge the proposed ombudsman with protecting the interests of libraries and higher education institutions and other public interest organizations, in addition to consumers and small businesses;
- continue to recognize that libraries and institutions of higher education operate private networks or engage in end user activities that are not subject to open Internet rules; and
- preserve the unique capacities of the Internet as an open platform by exercising its well-established sources of authority to implement open Internet rules, based on Title II reclassification or an “Internet reasonable” standard under Section 706.
“Taken together, we believe our comments highlight the vital intersection of our public interest missions and the democratic nature of a neutral internet,” Young said. “The American Library Association is proud to stand with other education and learning organizations in outlining core principles for preserving the open Internet as a vital platform for free speech, innovation, and civic engagement.”
More information on the ALA and its engagement with network neutrality is available here.
About the American Library Association
The American Library Association is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with approximately 57,000 members in academic, public, school, government, and special libraries. The mission of the American Library Association is to provide leadership for the development, promotion and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.