In the days  leading up to the FCC’s Dec. 14 vote to repeal net neutrality, education and library services leaders were carefully watching in the hopes that the internet would remain an open and level playing field for their students, faculty, patrons and those in the pursuit of knowledge and information.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai followed through on a pledge to repeal 2015 regulations designed to ensure that internet service providers treat all online content and apps equally. The current rules, known as net neutrality, impose utility-style regulation on internet service providers such as Comcast, AT&T and Verizon to prevent them from favoring their own digital services over those of their rivals.

“I think some people may say this will impact students because they may not be able to stream Netflix videos, but it is much more serious and broad than that,” said Randy Roberts, dean of library services for Pittsburg (Kansas) State University, in the days leading up to the vote.

At the Federal Level

Pai said that he believes the net neutrality rules adopted during President Barack Obama’s administration discourage ISPs from making investments in their networks that would provide even better and faster online access.

“Under my proposal, the federal government will stop micromanaging the internet,” he said in a statement when he announced the rollback proposal in late November.

(Next page: Higher-ed institutions and libraries await the net neutrality vote)

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