The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted today, February 26, 2015, in favor of adopting rules to protect and promote the open Internet, also known as net neutrality. With today’s vote passing the 2015 Open Internet Order, the FCC can ensure that Internet providers do not create “fast lanes”—designated for those willing and able to pay a premium—and “slow lanes”—for everyone else—and that the Internet remains open and available to all.
The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) applauds the Open Internet Order, which reclassifies the Internet under Title II of the Communications Act and also relies upon the FCC’s authority under Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act to provide a strong legal basis to protect net neutrality. As both providers and consumers of content and services on the Internet, research libraries and their parent institutions have long relied on the open character of the Internet, including non-discriminatory access.
Deborah Jakubs, president of ARL, said, “Libraries, colleges, and universities have long championed, advanced, and provided critical intellectual freedoms such as education, research, learning, free speech, and innovation. These freedoms rely on net neutrality, and today’s vote at the FCC ensures that network operators cannot act as gatekeepers and place commercial interests above non-commercial expression.”
Ultimately, the FCC’s 2015 Open Internet Order recognizes the fact that the open Internet is increasingly critical to the way information is shared and disseminated today. ARL congratulates the FCC on its decision, which incorporates many of the joint principles filed by library and higher education organizations (PDF) and will allow the research library community to continue to offer a growing number of distance learning services, online course instruction, and access to extensive digital content, as well as promote new innovations.
The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) is a nonprofit organization of 125 research libraries in the US and Canada. ARL’s mission is to influence the changing environment of scholarly communication and the public policies that affect research libraries and the diverse communities they serve. ARL pursues this mission by advancing the goals of its member research libraries, providing leadership in public and information policy to the scholarly and higher education communities, fostering the exchange of ideas and expertise, facilitating the emergence of new roles for research libraries, and shaping a future environment that leverages its interests with those of allied organizations. ARL is on the web at http://www.arl.org/.