EDUCAUSE Submits Comments on Proposed Net Neutrality Rule

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In November 2023, the Federal Communications Commission issued a proposed rule to reclassify broadband internet access as a telecommunications service under Title II of the Communications Act, thus reestablishing its 2015 net neutrality regulations. EDUCAUSE and the Association for Research Libraries submitted joint comments in December 2023 expressing the associations' support for an open internet.

On November 3, 2023, the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to reestablish its authority over broadband internet access service (BIAS) by reclassifying it as a telecommunications service under the Communications Act. The proposed rule would largely restore the FCC's 2015 net neutrality regulations, which were rescinded in 2017 by the Trump administration's FCC.Footnote1

Under the NPRM, the FCC proposes to reinstate prohibitions on blocking, throttling, or creating paid or affiliated prioritization arrangements for internet traffic. Additionally, the FCC proposes to reinstate a general conduct standard prohibiting broadband provider actions that might negatively impact net neutrality and thereby unreasonably disadvantage consumers. According to the FCC, the goal of the rule is to ensure internet service providers (ISPs) do not take advantage of internet consumers by using their control of consumers' broadband access to elevate their interests (especially financial ones) over consumers' right to access the lawful online content and services of their choice.Footnote2

EDUCAUSE and the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) submitted comments in response to the NPRM highlighting the importance of consumer internet access based on net neutrality principles to higher education institutions and their communities.Footnote3 The letter expresses concerns with the FCC's 2017 recission of the 2015 rule, focusing on the financial consequences and restrictions on freedom of speech and thought on campuses that blocking, throttling, or paid prioritization arrangements could create. With these concerns in mind, EDUCAUSE and ARL reaffirmed their support for the 2015 rule, thus establishing support for the current proposed rule, which will allow higher education institutions to best serve their stakeholder communities into the future.

The comment period for the proposed rule from the FCC closed on December 14, 2023. The release of the final rule, which will restore net neutrality protections nationwide, is expected later this spring. EDUCAUSE will update members on FCC actions related to net neutrality as this rulemaking moves forward.


  1. Federal Communications Commission, "Safeguarding and Securing the Open Internet," Federal Register 88, no. 212 (November 3, 2023): 76048-76096; Jarret Cummings, "FCC Votes to Restore Strong Net Neutrality Protections," EDUCAUSE Review, March 4, 2015; Jarret Cummings, "Higher Education and Library Groups Respond to New FCC Rule-Making on Network Neutrality," May 18, 2017. Jump back to footnote 1 in the text.
  2. "Safeguarding and Securing the Open Internet," November 2023. Jump back to footnote 2 in the text.
  3. EDUCAUSE letter to the Commissioners of the Federal Communications Commission, "Safeguarding and Securing the Open Internet, WC Docket 23–320," December 14, 2023. Jump back to footnote 3 in the text.

Bailey Graves is a Senior Associate at Ulman Public Policy.

© 2024 Bailey Graves. The content of this work is licensed under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 4.0 International License.