By Eric Pottie
This week, I want to discuss a big issue that is going on in the United States for libraries and people who use the Internet: net neutrality. This may not be happening right now in Canada but there is no guarantee that it won’t spread here in the future.
Net neutrality means keeping the Internet essentially the same for everything. All data has to be treated the same, from video streaming, posting photos, or looking up recipes. It means having a level playing field so an Internet provider can’t change the speeds to access one website compared to another.
One example of this is with video streaming. Imagine that an Internet provider decided they wanted to offer a streaming service similar to Netflix. Without net neutrality, they could make the Internet very slow and unwatchable when you tried to watch Netflix whereas they could make sure that their own service ran at a much better speed.
Providers would also be able to limit speeds and peoples access to a variety of sites. This is where it could greatly affect libraries. The library is all about providing people with access to information and in this day and age most people access that information digitally.
Another fear is that Internet providers will be able to charge more for different tiers of Internet. Right now, companies and people should all have their data treated equally. Without net neutrality, the providers could charge companies more money to have higher speeds. This could mean small business having to pay more to compete.
Now, this may not be the story in Canada right now, but it was debated only a few years ago in Parliament. So it is not impossible to see its resurrection and if that happens, why it is important for people to come together and oppose it.
The Thomas H. Raddall library is open Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Thursdays 10 a.m.-8 p.m., Fridays 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturdays 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Sundays 12-4 p.m. and closed Mondays.
The Alean Freeman Library is open Wednesdays 5-8 p.m. and Saturdays 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
For more information about the library, you can find us on Facebook at South Shore Public Libraries, follow us on Twitter @ssplibraries or check our website at www.southshorepubliclibraries.ca. You can contact the Thomas H. Raddall branch by emailing us at email@example.com or by phone at