College papers rail against potential loss of net neutrality

For the younger generation, the Internet is sacrosanct; untouchable in much the way broadcast television was for their parents. When someone suggests a change--paying for TV via cable for the geezers, regulating Internet speeds for the youngsters--people take notice and protests erupt. Thus the latest FCC and court action over net neutrality is starting to fire up college campuses.

"Large cable companies have put free access to the Internet in jeopardy, which could greatly impact both our culture and the economy," railed Jacquelyn Wheeler, a columnist for the Whitworthian, the campus paper of Whitworth University of Spokane, Washington. "Our culture would also suffer."

Another hot button piece by Michael Bang, staff writer of the Campus Slate, NYIT Old Westbury's campus paper, lays out some alternatives such as rate shaping rather than throttling the Internet. The article explains the concept as a busy highway where an HOV lane costs more but delivers more speed and "the normal lanes of traffic are the Internet connection where everybody suffers equally but have an equal shot at the Internet." The gist of the story makes it clear that this is not a favored approach.

In other news, Washington-based public interest group Public Knowledge said that the FCC Media Bureau's decision to favor Discovery Channel over Sky Angel in an over-the-top programming dispute "highlights why either Congress or the full Commission needs to focus on the question of whether the rules to protect cable competition... will also protect competition for online providers."

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