11 net neutrality principles from higher ed you may have missed

Multiple higher education organizations, including the American Association of Community Colleges, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, the American Library Association, EDUCAUSE, and more, drafted the principles in the belief that “preserving an open internet is essential to our nation’s freedom of speech, educational achievement, and economic growth,” said the organizations in a release.

“The internet now serves as a primary, open platform for information exchange, intellectual discourse, civic engagement, creativity, research, innovation, teaching, and learning,” the statement continued. “We are deeply concerned that public broadband providers have financial incentives to interfere with the openness of the internet and may act on these incentives in ways that could be harmful to the internet content and services provided by libraries and educational institutions. Preserving the unimpeded flow of information over the public internet and ensuring equitable access for all people is critical to our nation’s social, cultural, educational, and economic well-being.”

Though public comment is now closed, the organizations hope the FCC and general public will take note of the principles and support net neutrality. The organizations also encourage others to join.

The 11 net neutrality principles:

1. Ensure Neutrality on All Public Networks: Neutrality is an essential characteristic of public broadband internet access. The principles that follow must apply to all broadband providers and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) who provide service to the general public, regardless of underlying transmission technology (e.g., wireline or wireless) and regardless of local market conditions.

2. Prohibit Blocking: ISPs and public broadband providers should not be permitted to block access to legal web sites, resources, applications, or internet-based services.

3. Protect Against Unreasonable Discrimination: Every person in the U.S. should be able to access legal content, applications, and services over the internet, without “unreasonable discrimination” by the owners and operators of public broadband networks and ISPs. This will ensure that ISPs do not give favorable transmission to their affiliated content providers or discriminate against particular internet services based on the identity of the user, the content of the information, or the type of service being provided. “Unreasonable discrimination” is the standard in Title II of the Communications Act; the FCC has generally applied this standard to instances in which providers treat similar customers in significantly different ways.

4. Prohibit Paid Prioritization: Public broadband providers and ISPs should not be permitted to sell prioritized transmission to certain content, applications, and service providers over other internet traffic sharing the same network facilities. Prioritizing certain internet traffic inherently disadvantages other content, applications, and service providers—including those from higher education and libraries that serve vital public interests.

5. Prevent Degradation: Public broadband providers and ISPs should not be permitted to degrade the transmission of internet content, applications, or service providers, either intentionally or by failing to invest in adequate broadband capacity to accommodate reasonable traffic growth.

(Next page: Principles 6-11)

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