April 16, 2018

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Alabama Public Library Service (APLS) Director Nancy C. Pack provided key context in the ongoing net neutrality debate at a forum that also featured Sen. Doug Jones, D-Ala. The forum, “A Conversation on Net Neutrality,” was held Friday, April 13 at the Ferguson Center auditorium on the campus of the University of Alabama, and was attended by students, faculty, and the public.

Pack moderated the forum and provided necessary background for the Alabama senator’s presentation by defining net neutrality and explaining how the practice benefits libraries and their users. Jones discussed legislation he is co-sponsoring to repeal the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) decision to end net neutrality. Also known as the Open Internet Order, net neutrality was adopted in 2015 to prohibit internet service providers from blocking, throttling, or discriminating certain online content. Repealing net neutrality could potentially lead to higher prices for access to the internet, slower internet traffic, and blocked websites.

At the forum, Jones defended his stance for a free and open internet by stating the internet’s essential useas a communications tool. Jones said that because the internet is a communications device, it should remain under the jurisdiction of the FCC.  

“A free and open internet is crucial for our nation to remain a leader in the global economy,” Jones said. “Restoring net neutrality is the right thing to do to protect Alabama consumers and to provide an equitable platform for companies of all sizes to compete for their customers.”

Jones, a vocal proponent of open access to information and equitable distribution of resources to all citizens, defeated Republican candidate Roy S. Moore in an election that garnered national attention in December 2017.

Pack said Sen. Jones is supportive of social justice and the need to have internet access for everyone, regardless of financial, geographical, or political situations.

The Alabama Public Library Service is the state agency whose mission is to provide information services to all citizens, local public libraries, and state employees.