Like librarians around the country, the Vermont Library Association is deeply concerned about the recent changes to the regulations regarding Net Neutrality. Throughout the development and growth of the Internet equal access to information has been the accepted norm. Net neutrality protects those making the content from censorship and provides users of the Internet with the freedom they need to easily access any and all information. In particular, Vermont residents are uniquely vulnerable to the FCC’s relaxing of net neutrality rules. As a rural state we all rely on the Internet to access content we might not otherwise be able to find and our small business community needs to be able to reach customers across the state and around the country.
Net Neutrality is the belief that the companies who provide our Internet access should not have the ability to force content creators to pay more based on the information they provide, or even possibility block content they don’t approve of. Net Neutrality protects consumers from being charged more based on their Internet use, allows individuals to create their own content without fear they will have to pay to have other’s find it, and gives us all equal access to any content on the Internet. Sadly, Net Neutrality is no longer in place. However, Vermont librarians will continue to push for a reinstatement of these norms in order to protect our patrons. We will continue to offer free access to the Internet at our libraries across the state. A free and open Internet is so very valuable to our state so residents are able to learn, explore, build businesses, and participate in the world provided to us through the Internet. As librarians will we everything we can to fight for all Vermonters.
– Angele Mott Nickerson – VLA Intellectual Freedom Committee