We, together with our partners, work with low income, working families to ensure they can have educational, housing and career opportunities.  We seek a society where all people have these opportunities and we break down barriers to their success when we find them.  We don’t normally delve into technical nor federal issues, but there is something we need to say about Net Neutrality and the path the FCC is on.

We oppose the weakening of the open internet rules on behalf of our partners and the hard working families and individuals we collectively serve.  Low income earners already face significant barriers to success, with many relying on internet access at public libraries. While many of us can simply look for a job, a new training program, a needed social service, on the computers we carry in our pockets, not all are so privileged.  If we allow net neutrality to expire, we risk damaging the chances of millions of families to access impartial content about education, immigration, job opportunities and other critical facets of our modern society.  We cannot, with integrity, allow a few large companies to dictate the content that the poor and working class can access.

Around 30 million people use public libraries every week and changes like this make it viable for companies to drastically raise the cost of internet access for our libraries- and it’s unlikely we can fund that in every city across the country.  On top of this we may see the mingling of roles as ISPs control access to certain types of content- we do not believe that corporations should be deciding the3 content we can access on the public internet.

computer users

On top of this we value the inherent fairness of the internet to enable startups and local, people of color owned micro-enterprises to tap into the same speeds and distribution as the big players.  This in a form is the American ideal, even if mostly fantasy- limiting access and speed and distribution goes against the ideal that says anyone can succeed here. Ending the Open Internet rules will change this once more for the worse.

The digital divide is already very real in this country, erasing this level of neutral access to content, to information, to power, this is wrong.  We will harm our citizens and residents through this action if passed as expected. We hope is that the intent of our government, but it is not enough to just hope: we urge you to consider the full impact of this action.

We ask our partners and community to raise their voices on this topic- there’s a great guide to making an official comment here, and if you know how to do this already just go to the FCC site here and use the Express option on Proceeding # 17-108.