Monday, May 19, 2014

Why the death of net neutrality would be a disaster for libraries

Why the death of net neutrality would be a disaster for libraries
Washington Post: 5.16.2014 by Andrea Peterson  
The Internet's eyes turned to the Federal Communications Commission on Thursday, as the panel approved a plan to consider allowing Internet service providers to charge Web sites like Netflix for higher-quality delivery of their content to consumers. In the lead-up to the vote, tech companies, venture capitalists and even celebrities all expressed opposition to the proposal, arguing that it would effectively end the open Internet.

But another group who cares deeply about this issue is the library community. The Switch spoke to Lynne Bradley, the director of government relations at the American Library Association's Washington office, about how net neutrality affects libraries, the people who rely on them and public institutions at large. This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity. 

Where do libraries stand on net neutrality?
~ Net neutrality is really important for libraries because we are, first of all, in the information business. Our business now is not just increasingly, but dramatically, online, using digital information and providing services in this digital environment. That means that we need to have solid and ubiquitous Internet services.
~ We’re interested in network neutrality for consumers at the home end, but also because it's key to serving our public. And that means the public libraries, the academic libraries from two-year community colleges to advanced research institutions, as well as school librarians in the K-12 community.
~ Network neutrality issues must be resolved, and we hope to preserve as much of an open Internet policy as we possibly can. The public cannot risk losing access to important services provided by our libraries, our schools and other public institutions.  READ MORE !

Game on (redux) for network neutrality
District Dispatch: 5.15.2014 by Larra Clark

Today, the Federal Communications Commission voted to open a new Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on ensuring the Open Internet. This marks (another) beginning in our work to advocate for enforceable rules that protect equitable access to online information. The American Library Association will actively engage—with our members, with our library allies, with the FCC and with Congress, if needed—in this vital proceeding.

In fact, the ALA was one of the first to file when the FCC opened the docket in February. The ALA, Association of Research Libraries and EDUCAUSE followed up on Monday with key FCC staff. Our group shared the perspective of education, research and learning organizations and examples of what’s at stake for our community and our users.  Beyond the most basic challenges to equitable access to information and intellectual freedom, higher education and libraries are generators and subscribers of critical educational and cultural content that could suffer under a two-tier or “fast-lane” approach to network neutrality.

Among the specific examples we shared are how:
- Public libraries are increasing their Internet speeds (often through the E-rate program, another issue before the FCC) to provide better access to millions of Americans, which could be threatened if commercial and entertainment content is pushed to the forefront while educational resources lag;
- All types of libraries are digitizing and sharing unique collections, including the 9/11 Oral History Project;
- Entrepreneurs and other creators are using public libraries as co-working and innovation spaces to upload their own digital content and products;
- Libraries could be forced to pay more for streaming services if these content providers are paying for enhanced transmission;
-Projects like the nanoHUB uses cyberinfrastructure to provide access to scientific tools for research, demonstration.  READ MORE !

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