The Effects of Net Neutrality on Education

Keep the Internet Open

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Net neutrality is based on the principle that Internet service providers are not allowed to limit or restrict provision of services based on the content, equipment, destination, user, and other factors. From an educational perspective, net neutrality has given us immediate access to large bodies of research, databases of literature, and much more. If this becomes limited education could be impacted negatively. According to Cuk and Robinson (2018), health care workers regularly access information that is available through dynamic internet databases in diagnosing, researching, and providing care to patients. This has carried through to those who are learning to serve in the healthcare industry. Likewise learners in almost all disciplines regularly access the vast resources available via the Internet as a result of net neutrality. (Yamaga-Lynch et al. 2017.)

If net neutrality is not maintained, the impact on education could be significant, especially with regard to online learning. Yamaga-Lynch et all (2017) use terms like “homework gap” and “digital desert” to refer to issues that already exist with learners who may be socioeconomically disadvantaged, or who live in remote rural locations. For these populations, access to reliable technology already results in limitations to access of learning. Eliminating net neutrality could result in further limitations to those in the situations described above, and could result in fewer people having access to reliable information for learning.


Cuk, N., & Robinson, C. L. (2018). Net Neutrality Repeal and the Potential Harm to Medical Education. JAMA, 319(16), 1655-1656. Retrieved 9 8, 2019, from

Yamaga-Lynch, L., Despande, D., Do, J., Garty, E. Mastrogiovanni, J. and Teague, S. (2017). Net Neutrality and its implications to online learning. International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, V18, No6. Retrieved from