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Higher-Ed Associations Urge FCC to Support Net Neutrality

The American Council on Education and 17 other education groups pressed the Federal Communications Commission to ensure Internet service providers can't throttle connection speeds or prices for particular content.

The ends of a red Ethernet cable and a green Ethernet cable. The red cable is twisted and knotted to indicate slow connectivity while the green one is straight to indicate fast connectivity. Black background.
At least 18 higher-education professional associations want the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to go forward with new rules that would categorize high-speed Internet as an essential utility like electricity, allowing for the regulation of broadband providers.

In an open letter last month on behalf of the American Council on Education (ACE), the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, the American Association of Community Colleges, the Association of American Universities, Educause and 13 others, ACE's President Ted Mitchell noted that the Internet is “an increasingly important part” of how business and education takes place today. His letter advocated for a “free and open Internet” for higher education students and the restoration of "net neutrality," which would require Internet service providers to treat all websites and content the same instead of charging more or changing connection speed for some and not others.

The letter comes shortly after the FCC voted in October to reinstate regulations that aimed to keep the Internet accessible. The FCC is in the process of receiving public comments, and the rule will need a second vote before it becomes final.

“Students, institutions of higher education, and libraries have a stake in the Internet, and it is imperative that the Internet remains open and free,” Mitchell's letter said.

Noting the FCC’s public draft of the rule in September aiming to re-establish its authority over broadband Internet, the letter cited the need for regulations like the Obama administration's that sought to establish open Internet rules, which were reversed in 2017 under the Trump administration. Among the proposed rules, the FCC would reinstate measures to prevent "unreasonable interference or unreasonable disadvantage to consumers or to edge providers."

“We proudly support that the FCC is moving forward to restore net neutrality and ensure an open and free Internet,” Mitchell's letter read.