SETDA Applauds Senate Leadership for Net Neutrality
SETDA applauds Senator Markey for introducing S.J.Res.52 to restore the Federal Communications Commission’s Open Internet Regulations (OIR). State Educational Technology Leaders greatly appreciate his desire to restore the OIR and ensure Net Neutrality for the nation’s schools and other broadband users.
SETDA’s members share an unwavering commitment to expanding broadband access to unserved and under-served schools and communities, because they recognize broadband’s power to promote educational equity. This includes using broadband to enable access to digital learning opportunities that otherwise may be unavailable to the students that need the greatest support. Unfortunately, the country’s persistent educational achievement gaps often roughly overlay with community and regional broadband gaps. A recent U.S. Department of Education report, Student Access to Digital Learning Resources Outside the Classroom, showed that students living in remote rural and distant rural areas generally have more limited Internet access than students in suburbs, cities or towns. Notably, the report also showed that poor and minority children living in these areas were even less likely to have access to broadband.
Our members are concerned that the FCC’s decision to dismantle the agency’s Net Neutrality protections, may make it even harder to overcome the connectivity gaps describe above. Why? Without the OIR, the schools struggling to catch up to the digital transition may face higher digital content costs, preferential service fees, and less education technology innovation. The FCC’s answer, tasking schools and other broadband customers with the responsibility to police providers’ opaque service terms and report problems to the Federal Trade Commission, simply will not do. We need the Senate to approve S.J.Res.52 and restore a level broadband playing field for schools, especially for the schools serving the most economically powerless communities in the country.
SETDA’s members strongly support Senator Markey’s efforts to restore Net Neutrality and for introducing S.J.Res. 52.