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Free Government Information (FGI) is a place for initiating dialogue and building consensus among the various players (libraries, government agencies, non-profit organizations, researchers, journalists, etc.) who have a stake in the preservation of and perpetual free access to government information. FGI promotes free government information through collaboration, education, advocacy and research.

FCC “Open Internet” Rule will hurt e-government

What will happen to government information on the web if we lose the little net neutrality we still have? Marvin Ammori of Slate’s Future Tense project, in partnership New America and Arizona State University, says that it will result in federal, city, and state government websites that run slowly and deliver errors.

Although Ammori doesn’t say so, I would guess that it will have another, second-order effect on government information. First, using the slow internet lane will make it more difficult for governments to deliver adequate e-government services. Second, Congress and local governing bodies will use this as an excuse, not to fund fast-lane access, but to reduce funding of government information delivery and e-government even further. Finally, the private sector will move in and offer better services and fast lane access, thus privatizing and commercializing government information access and delivery. Private companies will, of course, demand that they get all the government information they want for free and then they will charge the rest of us for access to this valuable, public resource.

On May 15, the FCC created a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet NPRM) that would permit cable and phone companies to create slow and fast lanes on the Internet. The FCC has received an unprecedented number of comments on this proposal (over a million), prompting the FCC to make the comments available to the public for analysis in XML format.

Lunchtime listen: Net Neutrality in the US: Now What?

[[Vi Hart]], best known for her amazingly clear mathematical videos on YouTube, has created this *must-see* video about [[Net Neutrality]], the principle that ISPs should treat all data on the internet equally, not discriminate or charge differentially — or worse, block or throttle certain kinds of traffic like BitTorrent!

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is currently mulling a new net neutrality proposal that would allow big ISPs like Comcast to discriminate. Vi Hart explains all about net neutrality, why this proposed rule is BAD, and what you can do to register your complaint with the FCC. Check it out, and send it to everyone you know!

Defend Net Neutrality: Sign White House Petition

We recently received the following White House petition by e-mail  and hope you will sign it:


 we petition the Obama administration to:

Restore Net Neutrality By Directing the FCC to Classify Internet Providers as “Common Carriers”

On January 14, 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit that struck down the Federal Communications Commission’s open internet rules, commonly known as “Net Neutrality” because ISPs are not classified as “common carriers”. This ruling allows ISPs to charge companies for access to its users and charge users for access to certain services. Fewer companies will be able to afford access for innovative ideas and products.

We urge the President to direct the FCC to classify ISPs as “common carriers” so that the words of the FCC chairman may be fulfilled: “I am committed to maintaining our networks as engines for economic growth, test beds for innovative services and products, and channels for all forms of speech protected by the First Amendment.”



We at FGI believe that the loss of net neutrality would be devastating to government agencies,  universities, libraries, political activists across the entire political spectrum, anyone who depends on the internet for communication and/or cause promotion. If the Internet Service Providers are allowed to put up toll booths, only those content providers who can afford it will be able to have their content swifty download. All other content will wind up taking awhile. Given that many people will give up on a page that won’t load after ten seconds, this sort of delay will muzzle everyone.

Having to pay above and beyond base bandwidth costs will also make many audio and video sites cost prohibitive to maintain. We will have a much less diverse net with only ISP approved content if we let Net Neutrality go.

If you agree, please sign the White House petition. We have until Valentine’s Day to gather 100,000 signatures to force an Administration response. Don’t wait.

Hat tip to Diedre Conkling for this item.

Backgrounder on net neutrality

The Senate is expected to decide as early as Wednesday whether to throw out the Federal Communication Commission’s “net neutrality” rules before they go into effect Nov. 20. The Los Angeles Times editorial board member Jon Healey explains the debate around the FCC’s proposed rules and does as good a job of summarizing the issues as I have seen.

  • Backgrounder on ‘net neutrality’, By Jon Healey, Los Angeles Times (Nov 9, 2011)

    The stakes are high for the phone and cable companies that sell Internet access services, as well as the companies that offer content and services through the Internet.

    … In essence, the debate boils down to a question of what freedom online is most worth preserving: the freedom from regulation, or the freedom from interference by ISPs.

The FCC, Net Neutrality, and Broadband Speed

Scientific American has an excellent editorial that ties together the strands of FCC regulation, the lousy broadband speed we get in the U.S., and Network Neutrality.

  • Why Broadband Service in the U.S. Is So Awful And one step that could change it, The Editors, Scientific America (October 4, 2010)

    A decade ago the U.S. ranked at or near the top of most studies of broadband price and performance. But that was before the FCC made a terrible mistake. In 2002 it reclassified broadband Internet service as an “information service” rather than a “telecommunications service.” In theory, this step implied that broadband was equivalent to a content provider (such as AOL or Yahoo!) and was not a means to communicate, such as a telephone line.

Hat tip to Kevin Taglang!