Net Neutrality repeal may impact local libraries

The current law prevents big internet service providers from charging extra fees, censorship, or controlling what we see and do on the web and on apps.

Posted: Dec. 6, 2017 8:01 PM
Updated: Dec. 6, 2017 8:59 PM

Net neutrality is a hot button issue, and it is coming up for a vote soon at the Federal Communications Commission.

The current law prevents big Internet service providers from charging extra fees, censorship or controlling what we see and do on the web and on apps.

If repealed, net neutrality could increase Wi-Fi prices, rate of speed and usage. Big companies could also charge you to use your favorite websites such as Google, Facebook and any other website you may use for free right now.

The repeal of net neutrality could also have a big impact on local services here in the Tennessee Valley, including local libraries. Services that were once free could no longer be available or become limited.

“That’s a major part of the services we provide. You know in this digital age having computer and Internet access is critical,” Decatur Public Library Systems Administrator Dalton McGee said.

According to McGee, the library had more than 77,000 sessions logged, as in the number of times people came to the library to access their computers and Internet, last year. He believes a change in the net neutrality law could impact the price the library pays for Internet, limit their data usage and speed and ultimately change the amount of access or service the library provides to their patrons.

“We have a lot of patrons that come and apply for jobs online and employers now require an online application and an electronic resume, and you know many people out in the county don’t have the ability to do that if they’re looking for a job,” McGee said.

The FCC is expected to vote on net neutrality December 14.

Net neutrality supporters are planning a nationwide protest outside Verizon stores Thursday. One is scheduled to take place at the Verizon store on Beltline Road SE in Decatur 3PM.

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