Net Neutrality Important in Schools

By Joe Dysart

The raging battle over Net Neutrality -- a campaign to retain equal access for all to the Internet -- sounds like a controversy only cybergeeks could love, but it also matters greatly to your school.

The reason: Major telecommunication companies like AT&T, Comcast, Sprint, and others are trying to create two Internets. One would be free but information would travel as slow as a dirt road, while the other would perform like a six-lane expressway, but at premium rates.

For schools that can’t afford the extra charge, a two-tiered Internet would translate into a multitude of hassles. In worst case scenarios, trying to click your way through a school site using a broadband connection could feel a lot more like you’re using dial-up.

It would also impede access to the Web for staff and administrators, many of whom rely on the Internet for keeping data like attendance records, student transcripts, and other vital information.

And students and other community members will have much less of an incentive to join and participate in school social network sites. Why clod-hop around a clunky community site offered by your school, when you can cruise in the fast lane of a Facebook or MySpace -- each of which will gladly pay a premium to dust the competition?

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