By December 13th, members of the health sciences library community are encouraged to contact your members of Congress and urge them to support the net neutrality protections approved by the FCC in 2015 and affirmed by the federal appeals court in 2016.
On November 22nd, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairperson Ajit V. Pai announced plans to dismantle network neutrality protections approved by the FCC in 2015 and affirmed by the federal appeals court in 2016. The new draft order is scheduled to be voted on by the five FCC commissioners on December 14th.
FCC Commissioner Clyburn's Fact Sheet on Net Neutrality explains that Pai's proposal eliminates all prohibitions against blocking and throttling (slowing down) applications by broadband providers, and enables them to engage in paid prioritization and unreasonable discrimination at the point of interconnection.
Why Net Neutrality Matters:
MLA and AAHSL support the net neutrality protections approved by the Federal Communications Commission in 2015 and affirmed by the federal appeals court in 2016. Net neutrality is critical to libraries, library patrons and the public.
- Health sciences libraries require an open internet to provide
- unencumbered access to the National Library of Medicine's (NLM) almost 300 databases that support health care, education, and research; and
- Internet access to images that support telemedicine.
- The public requires Internet access without restrictions and barriers to access consumer health information.
- Libraries depend on the principles of net neutrality which allow them to create and make available on their websites content that supports educational opportunities online worldwide and to provide access to datasets to promote research and collaboration.
What You Can Do (before December 13th):
As the ALA Washington Office reports, right now, the FCC is not accepting public comments (that may come later), but strong disapproval from members of Congress (especially from those who serve on committees with oversight for the FCC) could force a pause in the December 14 vote to derail net neutrality. Make your voice heard now by emailing your member of Congress (www.House.gov) and (www.Senate.gov) to support net neutrality protections.
Following are links to the following House and Senate Committees and Subcommittees with jurisdiction over the FCC.
- Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, Oversight of the Federal Communications Commission
- Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, Communications, Technology, Innovation and the Internet Subcommittee
For talking points see:
- MLA/AAHSL Comments to the Federal Communications Commission re: Restoring Internet Freedom," Docket 17-108 (July 14, 2017) and feel free to personalize your letter by addressing the impact of this potential rollback on your libraries and users.