ALA applauds legislation for increased Wi-Fi spectrum

For Immediate Release
Wed, 02/11/2015


Jazzy Wright

Press Officer

Washington Office


The American Library Association (ALA) applauds today’s reintroduction of the Wi-Fi Innovation Act (S.424) by Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Cory Booker (D-NJ), which will help ensure our nation’s libraries and their communities have access to the spectrum needed to meet growing demands for wireless access.

The legislation would require the Federal Communications Commission to conduct a feasibility study on providing additional unlicensed spectrum in the upper 5Ghz spectrum band.

"We welcome this bipartisan effort from Senators Rubio and Booker to improve access to the Internet," said ALA President Courtney Young. "Libraries are first responders in providing information and services for people across the country, and robust Wi-Fi is an increasingly important library service. By offering no-fee public access to the Internet via wireless connections, libraries serve as community technology hubs that enable digital opportunity and full participation in the nation’s economy."

Public libraries are the most common public Wi-Fi access point for African-Americans and Latinos—with roughly one-third of these communities using public library Wi-Fi. This is true for 23 percent of white people, who list school as their top public Wi-Fi spot. Virtually all (98 percent) public libraries now offer Wi-Fi, up from 18 percent a decade ago.

"There is increasing demand to support the growing universe of wireless devices and services, and making more unlicensed spectrum available is critical," Young concluded.

Companion legislation was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Congressman Bob Latta (R-OH), and cosponsored by Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA), Congresswoman Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA), Congresswoman Doris Matsui (D-CA) and Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (D-WA).

About the American Library Association

The American Library Association is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with approximately 55,000 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.