A Vote on Sweeping Changes to Internet Freedom
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is set to vote this week to overturn rules pertaining to “net neutrality.” Under current net neutrality rules, internet service providers (ISPs) must provide all users with equal access to the internet, cannot lawfully block user access to certain websites, and cannot choose favorites in terms of which websites load faster than others. Without net neutrality rules, internet service providers would be able to: negotiate higher prices with certain companies to make their web pages load faster; prioritize traffic to users based on the ISP’s own political and financial interests; require users to pay additional fees to access certain websites at all. The impacts of these policies on schools could be massive: districts could be faced with new, higher costs for connections fast enough to use in classrooms; ISPs could choose to make access to free educational software and content slow and difficult and access to paid services from their preferred corporate partners fast and easy; universities’ access to research databases could slow to a crawl.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is slated to vote to repeal “net neutrality” rules on Thursday, December 14. The formal open comment period for this rule has already ended. There are current allegations that many of the comments submitted were forged and/or originated from Russian email addresses. Additionally, FCC records have disappeared regarding consumer complaints about the failure of internet service providers to comply with net neutrality rules. The FCC has held no public hearings on the matter and is poised to go forward with its vote to repeal net neutrality rules despite these unresolved procedural irregularities. The United States Congress could enshrine net neutrality protections through legislation, though no action appears imminent.
- FCC Must Investigate Fraud Before Voting on Net Neutrality (Wired | December 9)
- AFT’s Weingarten on Federal Communications Commission’s Net Neutrality Changes (American federation of Teachers |November 27)
- Net Neutrality: the Long View (National Public Radio |November 26)
- Details on Dismantling Net Neutrality (Politico |November 22)
Be a Part of the Process:
- Take Action: Call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-2311 to speak with your members of Congress about the impact of net neutrality on schools.
- Mashable has a great list of resources for how to make your voice heard in the net neutrality debate.