For immediate release | September 16, 2014

ALA, CDT seek stronger network neutrality protections than “commercially reasonable”

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The American Library Association and the Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT) this week urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in a letter (pdf) to adopt strong, enforceable net neutrality rules essential to preserving freedom of speech, educational achievement and economic growth online. In the letter to the FCC, the organizations call for the FCC to set the bar higher than the “commercially reasonable” standard the agency had proposed—whether using Title II or Section 706 of the Communications Act – to preserve the open nature of the Internet.

"At this moment, we owe it to the nation’s library patrons, students, entrepreneurs and consumers to adopt enforceable net neutrality policies that prohibit practices such as 'paid prioritization' that would undermine Internet openness,” said Courtney Young, president of the American Library Association (ALA). “The FCC’s proposed ‘commercially reasonable’ standard is not strong enough to preserve the culture of the Internet as an open platform for free speech, innovation, education, research and learning."

"We are concerned that the FCC’s original proposal would allow Internet providers to prioritize or degrade Internet traffic—specifically content, services, or applications offered by libraries and educational institutions," Young added. "Libraries, educational institutions, innovators and consumers increasingly operate as both consumers and content creators, and the Commission’s rules must protect both sides of the Internet access equation."

More than 77 million people use public library Internet access every year to access resources, take classes, conduct research and develop and share content online. As a long-time advocate for intellectual freedom and equitable access to information, the American Library Association urges the FCC to move swiftly to restore network neutrality protections that preserve the culture and tradition of the Internet.

Learn more about ALA’s network neutrality advocacy efforts.

About the American Library Association

The American Library Association is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with more than 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.

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