How will the FCC’s recent ruling on net neutrality affect colleges and universities?

net-neutralityThe internet is abuzz with reaction to the Federal Communication Commission’s proposal this past Thursday to change net neutrality rules and create a “fast lane” for the internet (at extra cost). Free-internet advocates, internet providers, politicians, and online companies are all weighing in on the controversial ruling.

But Jeff Livingston, senior vice president of education policy at McGraw-Hill Education, says there are some voices that may need to be louder: those in education.

Livingston talked to eCampus News on Wednesday about how the ruling — which would allow (or, depending on who you’re talking to, force) companies and websites to pay for a faster internet — could affect colleges and universities.

eCampus News: What is net neutrality?

Jeff Livingston: Net neutrality is the now-old notion that all data traveling over the public internet is equal and that the providers of internet access should not, and could not, prioritize sets of data over other kinds data, such as that some services and internet-based offerings have far better performance than others. After the Supreme Court called into question the ability of the FCC to enforce such a rule on networks that private companies paid for and built, the new issue is how and under what circumstances and via which set of rules will internet providers be allowed to give preferential treatment to some data over others on the public internet.

How does the FCC’s ruling address that?

That’s really the FCC starting a conversation about how they’re beginning to think about this, but it has frankly for some of us, especially for us interested primarily in the educational use of the internet, created more questions than answers.

(Next page: Why colleges and universities should be concerned about the net neutrality ruling)


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