The end of net neutrality is a threat to our democracy, even if the signs are not yet clear.
Posts Tagged ‘Net Neutrality’
In the wake of the net neutrality repeal, now more than ever, public libraries need to rise to the challenge of engaging in digital justice work. As librarians, we know that the repeal of net neutrality hurts all of us. However, in a climate of increasing inequality and opportunity gaps, marginalized communities, especially people of color, low-income households, and rural communities, are primed to be most negatively impacted by the FCC’s egregious party-line decision.
A recent New York Times article by Cecilia Kang profiled a Detroit, Michigan, community struggling with Internet access. The article highlights how residents without broadband access struggle to participate in Detroit’s economic recovery and reports that “Detroit has the worst rate of Internet access of any big American city, with four in ten of its 689,000 residents lacking broadband, according to the Federal Communications Commission.”
The FCC recently passed the Open Internet Order, which became active on June 12, 2015. ALA has overwhelmingly expressed its support for the legislation that protects and promotes the open internet. In fact, ALA and its coalition with 137 other groups and companies wrote a letter thanking FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, and Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel for their leadership in protecting the Open Internet. Because of the coalition’s strong and persuasive voice, the ruling references the coalition’s ideas and proposals nearly 20 times.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted yesterday to assert the strongest possible open Internet protections—banning paid prioritization and the blocking and throttling of lawful content and services. The American Library Association (ALA), a longtime network neutrality advocate, applauds this bold step forward in ensuring a fair and open Internet.
In an editorial in the November 2014 MIT Technology Review, the writer concluded that “the open Internet is in danger. But not from lack of neutrality—from the prospect of FCC regulating it like a 20th –century utility.” The article proceeded to provide a brief commentary on “network neutrality.” This refers to the concept that service providers should not block data from particular websites, charge content providers for delivering content, or set paid “fast lanes” i.e. charging extra to some people for faster services while others get stuck in “slow lanes.”
Last week, a U.S. court of appeals put the kibosh on regulations that keep the Internet playing field even. Broadband providers think it’s awesome. Consumer advocates say, “No way.” So what’s a librarian to do? Oh, plenty.