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Net neutrality forum explores impact of impending FCC actions
Written by melody     July 11, 2014    
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A forum on a free and open Internet was held at the University of Vermont on July 1, expanding the dialog on prohibiting prioritized Internet service as the Federal Communications Commission continues to fast-track Internet fast lanes.

The hearing -- "Preserving an Open Internet: Rules to Promote Competition and Protect Main Street Consumers" -- was led by Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., chair of the United States Senate Judiciary Committee.

Vermont State Librarian Martha Reid testified at the hearing, advocating net neutrality and deeming it a fundamental element required by libraries to fulfill their service to the public.

Free and open Internet

"It has always been and remains today a core value of libraries to preserve the free flow of information," said Reid. "It doesn't matter whether that information comes in print or audio-visual or digital format. Intellectual freedom -- the right of citizens to have access to information, including that which may be controversial -- is a hallmark of our democracy and of libraries."

The FCC gave citizens until July to debate the commission's proposed rules for protecting net neutrality, as many consumers have expressed discontent with the guidelines being proposed. The proposed rules wouldn't restrict Internet service providers from enabling companies such as Facebook and Netflix from paying premium prices to receive prioritized Internet service.

The fast lanes would allow users faster access to the sites that have received the priority Internet service, but it would serve as another barrier to startup companies who couldn't afford the premium price to optimize the user experience on their websites.

Citizens were urged to speak out against the FCC's proposed legislation when Michael Copps, former commissioner of the FCC, delivered testimony before the United States Judiciary Committee's assembly at the University of Vermont.

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Contributor's Comment
A forum in Vermont on net neutrality included testimony from a former FCC commissioner. The Senate Judiciary Committee seeks to drum up public debate before the FCC moves ahead with proposed rules on July 15.
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