In an open letter published last month, a group of American education organizations urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to reinstate open Internet – also known as net neutrality – rules.
If the FCC reinstates net neutrality rules, the commission would be able to categorize high-speed Internet as a utility – similar to water and electricity systems – and regulate broadband providers. Net neutrality was established in 2015 during the Obama administration before being rolled back in 2017 under the Trump administration.
Following a lengthy confirmation process, Democrats have recently regained the majority on the FCC, opening the door to reinstating open Internet rules. Back in September, the FCC released a public draft of a proposed rule that would reestablish its authority over broadband services. The FCC voted to advance the proposal in October and will review public comments before taking a final vote, which is expected this year.
“Students, institutions of higher education, and libraries have a stake in the Internet, and it is imperative that the Internet remains open and free,” the education groups said in the letter.
The signing organizations stressed the importance of internet services when it comes to modern higher education.
“We proudly support that the FCC is moving forward to restore net neutrality and ensure an open and free Internet,” the letter reads. “It is vitally important that the Internet is able to continue to evolve and thrive without the unnecessary distortions that are likely to emerge in the absence of strong net neutrality protections.”
Cosigners on the letter include ACE, American Association of Community Colleges, American Association of State Colleges and Universities, EDUCAUSE, American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers, Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, and Association of American Universities, among others.