(Editor's Note: the following information was provided
by the Dracut Library.)
On December 14, 2017, the Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 to repeal net neutrality. The measure, if not appealed, stands to end the internet as we know it. Internet providers will be able to not only control what we see and do online, but they can institute new fees.
The Parker Public Library offers public use computers that are constantly in use. We offer free Wifi as well as 8 hotspots for check-out, giving patrons broadband access at home and away from home. In today's world, you need access to the internet for everything from doing homework, finding jobs, applying for jobs, to filing your taxes.
The repeal of net neutrality stands to reduce access to the internet, which may limit access to information. We are not yet sure what Internet Service Providers (ISPs) may do with this new power. Access to databases may be slowed, not to mention access to things like streaming audio and video. ISPs will have the option to implement paid prioritization, tiering services and forcing the library to pay for faster service with resources that are already stretched.
Theoretically, IPSs could block or downgrade publishers or content providers that they don't agree with. In a December 14, 2017 interview
with THE VERGE, Anthony Marx, CEO and President of the New York Public Library said
"if you curtail people's access to information, not only will they not be able to do their homework or look for a job or use our collections, they will not be able to inform themselves as citizens. And in this day and age, when accusations of false news are flying every day, the citizens need to be able to check facts and gather facts and argue about facts.And they do that online, from the library. If we don't continue to ensure that, our democracy is at risk. Not just the First Amendment."
The Parker Library circulates materials both electronically and physically, we offer a variety of programming for everyone from infants to the elderly. We create attractive displays and booklists. We post events and information to social media sites. Out staff belongs to library associations and is involved with committees in those associations, including MLA's Intellectual Freedom and Social Responsibilities Committee
. We offer these services and belong to these organizations, because we strongly believe in one underlying principle: above all else, we believe in free and easy access to information for all. We believe in an informed citizenry and in providing you with access to information so that you can make informed decisions about topics that effect you. The repeal of net neutrality threatens this, and I for one, am deeply concerned.