End Of Net Neutrality Could Leave Some Online Learners In The Slow Lane

Dec 22, 2017

Demonstrators protested the FCC's move to end net neutrality.
Credit Associated Press

Imagine you’re a student taking a class online and you’re going to watch an educational video.

Now picture yourself inching along on the internet highway in the slow lane.

“If you’re not in the fast lane, that experience is going to be choppy video, low-quality video, and that’s going to be really distracting for you,” said Chris Millet, director of learning design at Penn State World Campus.

The Federal Communications Commission voted last week to repeal  net neutrality rules. Millet is worried what the FCC’s recent decision to end net neutrality could mean.

Millet said people who can afford to pay more won’t be as affected. But those who can’t, could suffer. That’s especially important for students taking classes online that feature lots of videos and other interactive content.

“Military students or students in rural areas that already have poor internet connections, that’s going to be even harder, to the point where some of those more engaging things are probably not going to be even possible for them,” Millet said.

Under net neutrality, internet service providers weren’t allowed to slow down some websites and apps or speed up other ones. Those providers are saying they won’t make major changes. But Millet and others are skeptical.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro is among those saying they’ll take legal action.