K–12 Tech Orgs Praise Senate Net Neutrality Vote, but Does It Matter?

School technology organizations are praising Wednesday's vote in the United States Senate to restore net neutrality rules.

If passed into law, the bill would reverse the Federal Communications Commission's December decision to end net neutrality rules put in place by the Obama administration. Those rules, set to expire June 11, bar companies from charging more for some content and from slowing down or outright blocking some content.

The Senate passed the bill 52–47, with three Republicans and two independents joining Senate Democrats to approve the bill.

"Today's successful vote was a vote with students, teachers and administrators top of mind," said Keith Krueger, CEO of the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), in a prepared statement. "This is the first step in ensuring a level broadband playing field for schools in small, large, rural and urban communities nationwide.

"We thank Senator Ed Markey for leading the charge and the 51 other Senators who supported the resolution, including Senators Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski and John Kennedy."

"The promise of an open internet is foundational to providing equitable learning opportunities to all students, not just those who can afford them," said Richard Culatta, CEO at the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), in a prepared statement. "We applaud the Senate for this bipartisan effort to overturn the FCC's decision to end net neutrality. We want to particularly recognize the senators who put aside party lines to do the right thing for educators and students. We are hopeful that members of the U.S. House will show their leadership to ensure access to high-quality educational resources continues to be a national priority."

Though heralded as a step in the right direction, passage of the bill means little unless it is also passed by the House of Representatives and signed into law by President Trump. It's not at all clear that the Republican-controlled body even plans to bring the bill to the floor for a vote, and the president has said he opposes overturning the FCC decision.

"The House should follow their [the Senate's] lead in standing up for school systems and protecting them from the unintended harmful consequences of a market without net neutrality guardrails," added Krueger, in a prepared statement "We urge them to advance this resolution as soon as possible." 

About the Author

Joshua Bolkan is contributing editor for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe. He can be reached at [email protected].