RLI 273
13
The Importance of Net Neutrality to Research Libraries in the Digital Age
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C O N T I N U E D
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DECEMBER 2010 RESEARCH LIBRARY ISSUES: A BIMONTHLY REPORT FROM ARL, CNI, AND SPARC
FCC’s Current Plan for Net Neutrality Rules
On December 1, 2010, FCC Chairman Genachowski announced his plan to circulate a proposed net
neutrality rule that will be voted on by the FCC during its December 21, 2010, open meeting.9
The proposal would:
Prohibit networks from blocking users’ right to access to lawful content and applications
Prevent wireline companies from engaging in “unreasonable discrimination,” and prevent wireless
companies from blocking lawful websites
Require transparency in network management practices for wireless and wireline providers
The FCC will continue to assert its authority over Internet service providers and plans to offer
additional grounds for authority beyond those claimed in Comcast v. FCC.
On December 21, 2010, the FCC will vote on the proposed net neutrality rule, which requires a
three-person majority to pass. This majority would likely be the three democratic Commissioners:
Julius Genachowski, Michael J. Copps, and Mignon Clyburn.10
Three Reasons Why Net Neutrality Is Critical
to the Mission of Research Libraries
1. A Free and Open Internet Is Vital to
Libraries’ Mission to Promote Intellectual
Freedom and the Democratic Process
Libraries serve the public interest and further democracy by providing access to
information, connecting the voices of faculty and students, and creating a more
informed citizenry—efforts that are all further enhanced through the use of the
Internet. As the FCC stated in its NPRM, with the advent of the Internet, “the
possibility of using technology to create a more transparent and connected
democracy has never seemed so bright.”11 Similarly, Congress noted that the
Internet “offer[s] a forum for a true diversity of political discourse, unique
opportunities for cultural development, and myriad avenues for intellectual
activity.”12 Libraries have long been champions of intellectual freedom and the
democratic process, and it is well recognized that the open Internet serves as a
platform for these values.
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