You may have heard that the DC Circuit of Appeals rejected Net Neutrality, mostly on the basis that the FCC does not classify Internet Service Providers as common carriers. This may sound esoteric and uninteresting but this is a BIG DEAL. As ALA President Barbara Stripling explains in a post on Wired:
By striking down the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)’s Open Internet Order this week, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals just gave commercial companies the authority to block internet traffic, give preferential treatment to specific internet services, and steer internet users away from online content based on their own commercial interests. Since the internet is now the primary mechanism for delivering content and applications to the general public, it’s more important than ever that commercial ISPs not have that kind of power to control or otherwise manipulate such communications.
What does this mean for schools? Stripling explains:
We must ensure the same quality access to online educational content as to entertainment and other commercial offerings. But without net neutrality, we are in danger of prioritizing Mickey Mouse and Jennifer Lawrence over William Shakespeare and Teddy Roosevelt. This may maximize profits for large content providers, but it minimizes education for all.
Stripling goes on to explain the role of libraries in content generation. In Alaska that would include Alaska’s Digital Archives and UAF’s Project Jukebox. Projects such as these might not be viable to keep on the net if libraries have to pay extra fees to ensure that these resources can be downloaded quickly enough for people to use.
I encourage you to read the entire article. It is short, but powerful and can be used to explain to anyone why Net Neutrality matters and why it supports a vibrant economy and educational space.
After the article I hope you will take one (OR MORE!) of three actions:
Sign the White House petition demanding a return to Net Neutrality. This can be legally done if the FCC classifies Internet Service Providers (ISPs) as common carriers.
Contact the FCC directly and let them know you want to see ISPs regulated as common carriers. (When you make a comment, select 09-191 Preserving the Open Internet)
Write our Members of Congress and ask them to speak to the FCC. Here are the contact pages for our (Alaska) delegation:
If you do take action, please also share this blog entry with your friends and readers so they can take action too.