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CAMPUS
TECHNOLOGIES INC

Student Housing Managed Internet Network Provider

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We are the oldest and most experienced private provider of managed wired and wireless Internet network, video, and CCTV services to off-campus student housing.

NET NEUTRALITY

 
Could somebody explain what net neutrality is and what the commotion surrounding it is?

In a Net Neutral world, Internet Service Providers (ISP’s) would not slow down traffic of certain types or to/from certain destinations for commercial gain, all traffic should be treated equally.

The commotion is really just hype (similar to the Year 2000 ‘bug’ and increasingly 5G wireless.

It was started by the revocation of the 2014 net neutrality rules by the FCC (This of course assumes you are in the USA; if you are in another country then their rules and regulations apply)

Essentially, the Internet worked just fine from it’s founding up until 2014 without those FCC rules in place, and it’ll work just fine now they’re gone. There are legal protections in place (for example, anti-trust legislation) to prevent anyone getting too greedy or abusive in the ISP space.

That’s not to say new legislation won’t be required in the future; the world is changing rapidly and our protective mechanisms may need to adapt as the dynamics of our technology environment evolve.

For the record I am a staunch advocate of net neutrality both in principle and in practice. However, the frenzy over this rule revocation is largely unwarranted.

So - this issue of net neutrality is important, but this elimination of a specific rule by the FCC is less impactful and much of the brouhaha is unwarranted.

 

​Will the Net Neutrality battle ever end, if so, when and why?

​As far as we know, there is no net neutrality battle going on. The Internet is working fine, thank you.

​There is a lot of (mostly) ill-informed media attention, but you’d have to ask them about that. It’s isn’t really anything to do with net neutrality.

Ref: Andrew Marshall's answer to Why does no one talk about Net Neutrality anymore? How did we go from "the world as we know it will end" to no discussion at all?

​There are many things that you should lie awake worrying about at 3am. This isn’t really one of them!

​​

Why does no one talk about Net Neutrality anymore? How did we go from "the world as we know it will end" to no discussion at all?

​Here’s why: Net Neutrality did not end when the FCC regulations were repealed. All that ended were some regulations that were added in 2014. The principle of neutrality has been embodied in the Internet since its inception decades ago, it was not created with these regulations in 2014. Similarly it did not disappear in late 2017 when they were repealed, the US still has protections (including the Federal Trade Commission) that ensure neutrality.

​Most people discussing it in the media don’t really understand the topic, but that doesn’t get in the way of a good story and the resultant frenzy brought it into the public domain with similar misunderstanding being spread far and wide.

​So, here we are, eight months later at the time of writing and the sky has not fallen, the wheels have not come off, there is no plague of frogs, and so it’s just not a media-worthy topic any more. I don’t think there’s been a more misunderstood and misreported subject since the ‘millenium bug’ (remember that?) that was going to cause the world to end on Jan 1st 2000.

​Some states in the US are trying to file their own regulations (presumably based on similar misunderstandings) and we’ll see how that goes, so the issue is not out of the public eye, it’s just not a national subject any longer.

​For the record, I support net neutrality in principle and in practice. Thanks for the A2A.

​​

If an ISP applies net neutrality to "slow down" content delivered to some of its clients within the USA, are non-US abroad surfers accessing the "same page content" safe from this speed limitation?

​It depends where the offending ISP is in the path between the client and the server.

If the client is in (say) France and accessing a streaming site in the US, and the route that the data takes transits an ISP that is performing some kind of content throttling, then yes.

​If the client uses a VPN, then there could be throttling performed between the VPN endpoint in the USA and the server.

However, all this is theoretical. In practice, if any throttling were to take place - and as far as I know none does - it would most likely be in the last mile provider in the US, i.e. between the client and the wider internet. This is because almost all last mile providers are cable companies and they have core TV programming revenues to protect. Intrinsically, they don’t want you to have a good streaming experience, they want you to buy cable TV programming from them.

​So, theoretically, yes, in practice - today at least - no.

Can a state like California override the FCC's net neutrality policy by legislation and, if so, should it even try?

​No doubt California could pass laws, but it may well have a costly fight on its hands if it does so as he FCC vowed to prevent exactly that action.

Reference: FCC's next step on net neutrality: Blocking the states

 

FCC will also order states to scrap plans for their own net neutrality laws.

Washington state passed just such a law in March 2018: Washington State Enacts Net Neutrality Law, in Clash with FCC.

We’ll just have to see how that plays out.

​In the meantime, it’s eight months since the regulation was repealed and the world hasn’t stopped turning. There just may be nothing to see here.

Stipulation: we support both the principle and practice of net neutrality. All the networks we're involved with are strictly neutral.

​​

Is Net Neutrality a very important issue to internet companies and telcos? Or not so important?

​A great question that goes straight to the heart of the matter.

​We think by net neutrality you are referring to the recent revocation of the 2014 net neutrality rules by the FCC (This of course assumes you are in the USA; if you are in another country then their rules and regulations apply).

​Essentially, the Internet worked just fine from it’s founding up until 2014 without those FCC rules in place, and it’ll work just fine now they’re gone. There are legal protections in place (for example, anti-trust legislation) to prevent anyone getting too greedy or abusive in the ISP space.

​That’s not to say new legislation won’t be required in the future; the world is changing rapidly and our protective mechanisms may need to adapt as the dynamics of our technology environment evolve.

​For the record, we are a staunch advocates of net neutrality both in principle and in practice. However, the frenzy over this rule revocation is largely unwarranted.

​​

With all this fuss about net neutrality, exactly how much are we relying on America for our regular global use of the internet?

We're assuming from the question that you are outside the USA. Two parts to the answer, really.

​Firstly, the fuss about net neutrality is mainly just that, fuss. Brouhaha caused by media misunderstandings and misinterpretations, and many people looking skywards nervously as a result. Nothing really to see here.

​If you’re not in the USA, you probably don’r depend on US based ISP’s or services anyhow. The only time you might be impacted is if you were trying to access a small server or service that was located in the USA and someone between you and that service decided to be problematic.

If you’re in (say) the UK, and you mainly access sites ending in “.co.uk” you don’t rely on America much at all for your Internet use.

What if net neutrality fails, and the internet becomes like broadcast TV, what can we do?

​Interestingly, for many people the Internet is indeed like broadcast TV in that (in the USA) a massive number of subscribers have only one ISP option - their local MSO or cable company - the same guys who control access to broadcast TV, and who have a monopoly based on Cable TV franchises.

​Out of approximately 100 million broadband subscribers in the USA, 66% is Comcast and Charter, both franchise cable operators. Other cable companies account for a large slice of the remaining 33%.

​US ISP broadband internet subscribers 2011-2018 | Statistic

 

What will life be like without net neutrality? Will people use the internet less, and will we basically live like the 90's, or something?

There are a lot of variables here (assuming you’re talking about the USA), so there’s no single definitive answer. Let us give you an array from best case to worst case.

In the best case scenario, nothing will change. ISP’s will use net neutrality conformance as a selling point, and although they can legally affect delivery channels, they won’t for marketing reasons.

In the worst case scenario major ISP’s will inhibit content originating from providers who do not pay them, or that they do not own - for example AT&T could slow down Dish Network’s Sling streaming TV service and favor DirecTV’s. In this case, expect a polarization of ecosystems where two or more competing blocs of ISP’s and content providers promote their own content and penalize others. Where a consumer has a choice between competing providers they will at least be able to do so, but in many parts of the country there is no choice and consumers will be out of luck.

If this gets really bad, you may find communities decide to buy and distribute their own (neutral) wholesale bandwidth and bypass the franchise dominance of the large cable companies. This is possible today, and may become necessary tomorrow if the lack of net neutrality starts to bite.

 

How could Tor (not a VPN) be used to get past net neutrality?

(Assuning you mean “.. to get past anyone who doesn’t support net neutrality” as neutrality is what we want.

Basically, the answer is, it couldn’t, if your ISP wanted to prevent it. Identifying Tor traffic is possible as you can block or shape traffic to Tor Exit node IP addresses.