3 Ways a Net Neutrality Repeal Might Impact Universities
The impending change in internet regulations could be detrimental to the quality of education students receive.
Meghan Bogardus Cortez , Jan 11, 2018
1. Technology that Increases Access Hits the Slow Lane
Innovations in videoconferencing and lecture capture technologies have allowed universities to provide flexible learning experiences to students no matter their location. However, if internet service providers are allowed to create “fast lanes” and “slow lanes” of access, experts worry these learning experiences will be in jeopardy.
“slow lanes” of internet access could make it difficult for students to access cloud software or applications without hitting data caps.
2. Inhibit Ability to Research and Access Materials
a 40-page commentary to the FCC explaining how a repeal would hurt universities, eCampus News reports.
“Institutions of higher education and libraries depend upon an open internet to carry out their educational and civic missions, and to serve their communities,” reads the commentary.
“almost everything” relies on the internet in higher education. Students use it for research, to take courses and turn in assignments while faculty use it for research and to create lesson plans. Roberts says his library needs it to archive and preserve materials. Slower internet could inhibit research and access to library resources.
3. Increased Costs Without Increased Educational Experiences
high cost of attending a university might see a bump without net neutrality.
slower internet access would actually degrade the quality of education offered for a higher cost.
more on net neutrality and education in this IMS blog
Net Neutrality Is Dead – Long Live Common Sense
my note: #Digital Darwinism #apologetic
In a 3-2 vote along party lines, the Republican-led commission decided to eliminate the current net neutrality rules and remove the shackles that prevent ISPs from blocking online content, slowing a competitor’s website, or charging you extra just to access YouTube. (You can read the dissenting opinions here.) It paves the way for an ISP free-for-all, baby, and you can bet telecom executives have plenty of lucrative plans in mind that we haven’t even considered.
Net Neutrality is just the beginning
Interview with Victor Pickard
Victor Pickard, associate professor of communication at the University Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School, whose research focuses on internet policy and the political economy of media.
with each new victory for the American telecommunications oligopoly, that digital optimism fades further from view.
Net neutrality protections are essentially safeguards that prevent internet service providers (ISPs) from interfering with the internet. Net neutrality gives the FCC the regulatory authority to prevent ISPs like Comcast and Verizon from slowing down or blocking certain types of content. It also prevents them from offering what’s known as paid prioritization, where an ISP could let particular websites or content creators pay more for faster streaming and download times. With paid prioritization an ISP could shake down a company like Netflix or an individual website owner, coercing them to pay more in order to be in the fast lane.
Net neutrality often gets treated as a sort of technocratic squabble over ownership and control of internet pipes. But in fact it speaks to a core social contract between government, corporations, and the public. What it really comes down to is, how can members of the public obtain information and services, and express ourselves creatively and politically, without interference from massive corporations?
Should we think of the internet as a good, a service, an infrastructure, or something else?
It’s all of the above.
The internet has been radically privatized. It wasn’t inevitable, but through policy decisions over the years, the internet has become increasingly commodified. Meanwhile it’s really difficult to imagine living in modern society without fast internet services — it’s no longer a luxury but a necessity for everything ranging from education to health to livelihood. The “digital divide” is a phrase that sounds like it’s from the 1990s, but it’s still very relevant. Somewhere around one fifth of American households don’t have access to wireline broadband services. It’s a social problem. We should be thinking about the internet as a public service and subsidizing it to make sure that everyone has access.
In your recent book on media democracy, you discuss the rise of what you call “corporate libertarianism.” What is corporate libertarianism and how does it relate to net neutrality?
Corporate libertarianism is an ideological project that has origins at a core moment in the 1940s. It sees corporations as having individual freedoms, like those in the First Amendment, which they can use to shield themselves from public interest oversight and regulation. It’s also often connected to this assumption that the government should never intervene in markets, and media markets in particular. (My note: Milton Friedman)
Of course, this is a libertarian mythology — the government is always involved. The question ought to be how it should be involved. Under corporate libertarianism it’s assumed that the government should only be involved in ways that enhance profit maximization for communication oligopolies.
There are clear dangers associated with vertical integration, where the company that owns the pipes is able to control the dissemination of information, and able to set the terms by which we access that information.
There have been cases like this already. In 2005, the company Telus, which is the second largest telecommunications company in Canada, began blocking access to a server that hosted a website that supported a labor strike against Telus.
Net neutrality is just one part of the story. What other regulations, policies and interventions could resist corporate control of the internet?
Roughly half of Americans live in communities that have access to only one ISP. My note: Ha Ha Ha, “pick me, pick me,” as Dori from “Finding Nemo” will say… Charter, whatever they will rename themselves again, is the crass example in Central MN.
Strategies to contain and confront monopolies:
- break them up, and to prevent monopolies and oligopolies from happening in the first place by blocking mergers and acquisitions.
- if we’re not going to outright nationalize them then we want to heavily regulate them, and enforce some kind of social contract where they’re compelled to provide a public service in exchange for the right to operate.
- create public alternatives, like municipal wireless networks that can circumvent and compete with corporate monopolies. There’s a growing number of these publicly owned and governed internet infrastructures, and building more is crucial.
more on #netNeutrality in this IMS blog
Report: Tech Companies Are Spying on Children Through Devices and Software Used in Classroom
By Richard Chang 04/17/17
according to a new report from the nonprofit Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), “Spying on Students: School-Issued Devices and Student Privacy”
shows that state and federal laws, as well as industry self-regulation, have failed to keep up with a growing education technology industry.
One-third of all K–12 students in the United States use school-issued devices running software and apps that collect far more information on kids than is necessary.
Resource-poor school districts can receive these tools at deeply discounted prices or for free, as tech companies seek a slice of the $8 billion ed tech industry. But there’s a real, devastating cost — the tracking, cataloging and exploitation of data about children as young as 5 years old.
Our report shows that the surveillance culture begins in grade school, which threatens to normalize the next generation to a digital world in which users hand over data without question in return for free services
EFF surveyed more than 1,000 stakeholders across the country, including students, parents, teachers and school administrators, and reviewed 152 ed tech privacy policies.
“Spying on Students” provides comprehensive recommendations for parents, teachers, school administrators and tech companies to improve the protection of student privacy. Asking the right questions, negotiating for contracts that limit or ban data collection, offering families the right to opt out, and making digital literacy and privacy part of the school curriculum are just a few of the 70-plus recommendations for protecting student privacy contained in the report.
more on students and privacy
Trump’s F.C.C. Pick Quickly Targets Net Neutrality Rules
more on net neutrality in this IMS blog
Across The Atlantic, Glimpse An Alternate Internet Universe
a moment when the U.S. decided to go one way and the rest of the world went another
more on Internet Access in this IMS blog
Why Is American Internet So Slow?
Antiquated phone networks and corporate monopolies do not produce fast Internet.
By Rick Paulas
AT&T, Comcast, Verizon, and Time Warner have a “natural monopoly” since they’ve simply been at it the longest. While the Telecommunications Act of 1996 attempted to incentivize competition to upset these established businesses, it didn’t take into account the near impossibility of doing so. As Howard Zinn wrote in A People’s History of the United States, the Telecommunications Act of 1996 simply “enabled the handful of corporations dominating the airwaves to expand their power further.”
Chattanooga has somewhat famously installed its own. Santa Monica also has its own fiber network. The reason these communities have been successful is because they don’t look at these networks as a luxury, but as a mode of self sustainability.
The 19th century’s ghost towns exist because the gold ran out. The 21st century’s ghost towns might materialize because the Internet never showed up.
more on Internet access in this IMS blog