NAICU Washington Update

Net Neutrality Principles Endorsed

July 11, 2014

NAICU joined ten other higher education and library associations this week in a statement of net neutrality principles as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) prepares to reconsider the issue.

In the statement announcing the principles, the organizations said they support the FCC’s adoption of “net neutrality” policies to ensure that the Internet remains open to free speech, research, education and innovation.  The group believes "Internet Service Providers (ISPs) should operate their networks in a neutral manner without interfering with the transmission, services, applications, or content of Internet communications. Internet users often assume (and may take for granted) that the Internet is inherently an open and unbiased platform, but there is no law or regulation in effect today that requires ISPs to be neutral."

“NAICU’s support of net neutrality is based on several important academic and transparency factors,” said NAICU President David Warren.  “Providing open and equitable access to the Internet is critically important to the academic and research pursuits of our member institutions, and, indeed, all of higher education.  That access should not be encumbered in any way.  By its very nature, the vast diversity of NAICU’s membership, including traditional liberal arts colleges, major research universities, church- and faith-related institutions, historically black colleges, Hispanic-serving institutions, single-sex colleges, art institutions, two-year colleges, and schools of law, medicine, engineering, and business, requires net neutrality policies to ensure that the Internet remains open to free speech, research, education, and innovation.”

Among the 11 net neutrality principals are:

  • 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.
  • Prohibit Blocking: ISPs and public broadband providers should not be permitted to block access to legal web sites, resources, applications, or Internet-based services.
  • Protect Against Unreasonable Discrimination: Every person in the United States 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.
  • 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. 

The FCC opened a new proceeding on “net neutrality” in May 2014  to explore what “net neutrality” policies it should adopt. 

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