Will the End of Net Neutrality Impact Public Libraries?

If you aren’t already aware, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Ajit Pai, is still trying to end the internet as you know it. The plan is to allow internet service providers to charge what they want and throttle data at will. This means that you’d end up paying a lot more to complete your master of library science online degree because a strong internet connection would no longer be a given. Millions of Americans use public libraries to do their homework, browse for job listings, and generally surf the web. If internet companies are allowed to increase pricing plans substantially, some public libraries might shut down. It is quite a frightening prospect indeed.

Why Public Libraries Aren’t Safe

You’d think that a place like public libraries, which are funded with federal and state tax dollars, would be shielded from an increase in price by internet service providers. Not so, says the head of the FCC. Pricing for basic internet connections will go up and faster internet connections might cost as much as three times more than normal. Public libraries would still have computers that patrons could use, but their internet privileges could be severely hindered. For poor households and homeless people, the public library is often the only place they have to go to for internet access. In Washington, D.C., there are dozens upon dozens of libraries that are frequently by a vast array of people.

Where Will the Public Go

If public libraries can no longer be used to get on the web for free, there may be a resurgence of internet cafes. Instead of it costing a few dollars an hour to go online, it might be a premium activity that consumers only partake in when they absolutely have to. In short, the internet is not going to be free anymore and low-cost internet plans are also expected to go away shortly. That is, unless Congress decides not to pass this bill or if a different alternative comes around.

Is Building an Alternative Internet the Answer?

Lots of online master of information experts have been working very hard to put together a conglomerate of independent internet service providers. If enough towns and individuals choose to go with a sort of grassroots version of ISP’s, there would be no reason for the major players to try and increase their prices. There’s already a map available online showing what states have hurdles in place preventing the internet from truly being free. Other areas already have a sort of open space group of internet capabilities, meaning that you can get online when and how you want.

If internet neutrality is no longer a reality, you won’t be able to stream movies at home. There will be a difference in the type of discussions that take place online because only a select few number of people will be able to afford it. YouTube sensations will not be posting as many videos because there won’t be that many viewers around to watch it. Speak up and tell your local politician that you don’t want the internet to be for the elitist only.

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