EDUCAUSE Comments: Court Should Overturn FCC’s 2017 Net Neutrality Repeal


On August 27, 2018, EDUCAUSE joined with the American Council on Education, the Association of Research Libraries, the American Library Association, and sixteen (16) other leading higher education and library associations to submit an amicus brief in the case before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit concerning network neutrality. Filing in support of the petitioners, which encompass twenty-two (22) state attorneys general and numerous public interest organizations, the twenty (20) higher education and library groups argued that the unique harms to colleges, universities, libraries, and their stakeholders from the FCC’s “arbitrary and capricious” action in vacating its 2015 network neutrality rules weighed strongly in favor of the court overturning the 2017 FCC order that repealed those rules. The harms cited include the negative impact that now-allowed paid prioritization models would have on the transmission of online content and services from higher education institutions and libraries, which are generally unable to pay for prioritized transmission of their data; the significant and continually increasing costs that libraries, institutions, students, patrons, and other stakeholders would face as a result of third-party content and service providers passing along their paid prioritization expenses; and the threat to academic freedom and freedom of expression presented by the unfettered ability of ISPs to block or throttle potentially controversial content, which ISPs have previously demonstrated a willingness to do.

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