IPAL Statement on Net Neutrality

December 11th, 2017

Iowa’s Elected Representatives,

Last week, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Pai announced his plan to roll back the 2015 Open Internet Order, and as constituents and academic leaders in Iowa, we want to voice our concerns. Strong, enforceable net neutrality rules are critical to our communities, schools and to our libraries, which would be negatively impacted should net neutrality go away.

Iowa's libraries collect, create and disseminate information to the public over the internet. We also ensure our users can access the internet and create and distribute their own digital content and applications. If net neutrality were to go away, this essential service would be threatened.

As college educators at all levels across Iowa, we recognize that the traditional definition of student is no longer applicable. The modern learner can range from a youth attending on campus classes to an adult worker, telecommuting from their kitchen or public library. A world in which libraries and other noncommercial enterprises are limited to the internet's "slow lanes" while commercial services such as HD movies can obtain preferential treatment undermines a central priority for a democratic society. Every citizen should be able to obtain, inform and educate themselves and each other.

Above all, libraries value free speech, freedom of expression and equitable access to information, and it is clear that this rollback of net neutrality threatens core American - and library - values. We need enforceable rules to ensure that the internet we enjoy today will continue to flourish.

As the Iowa Private Academic Libraries Consortium, we are asking you to contact FCC Chairman Pai before the FCC's vote on December 14th and demand he reconsider his current plan to dismantle net neutrality. The free flow of information on the internet is critical to a healthy democracy.

The Iowa Private Academic Libraries Consortium