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Businesses The Internet

Ask Slashdot: Taking a New Tack On Net Neutrality? 185

Posted by timothy
from the bad-idea-is-putting-it-lightly dept.
An anonymous reader writes "I am the IT director for a large rental property company that owns approximately 15,000 apartments in college towns across America. The board of directors has tasked me with exploring whether we can 'privatize' our network (we provide network access as part of rent in all of our properties) and charge certain commercial entities for access to our residents. Right now the network is more or less open, except that we block access (by court order) to certain sites at the request of various copyright holders. Specifically, they are interested in targeting commercial providers of services directed at college students, such as textbook rental firms, online booksellers, and so on. With approximately 35,000 residents, I guess they are thinking there is a substantial profit to be made here. Personally I don't like it one bit, but I thought I would ping Slashdot for thoughtful opinions. I imagine the phones will start ringing off the hook if students suddenly lose access to places like Amazon.com. I think it has 'bad idea' written all over it. What do you think?"
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Ask Slashdot: Taking a New Tack On Net Neutrality?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 01, 2014 @10:00AM (#47140767)

    If you provide network access as part of your rent, you provide network access as part of your rent, period.

    You may consider deals with additional sites that are only accessible from dedicated networks, like some online publishers offering downloadable journals/papers at blanket rates for universities.

    It is unlikely that any of those will pay you, however. It is rather additional value you can offer to your students. It's possible that you can advertise promotions for that kind of thing (like when they are made available for four weeks on your network) on a central network information site and get percentages either for the promotions or for subscriptions reached through them.

    But blocking anything that is normally free: no go. You have to try monetizing the inverse.

  • by sjames (1099) on Sunday June 01, 2014 @11:50AM (#47141315) Homepage

    They should make sure none of those students are studying law. It might make a great case for use in class. Suddenly there's a world class lawyer advising the residents.

  • Re:Captive? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tragedy (27079) on Sunday June 01, 2014 @01:30PM (#47141841)

    Anybody who doesn't like what they are doing can rent somewhere else. If their college has an exclusive contract with them (unlikely but possible), people can choose a different college.

    I was going to methodically criticize this sentence but then I realized I shouldn't need to. Anyone with half a brain should be able to see what's wrong with the idea that the easy remedy to this sort of thing for consumers is to "choose a different college"!

  • by west (39918) on Sunday June 01, 2014 @03:28PM (#47142477)

    Somehow, I'm pretty certain that in the rental agreement on page 15, in small print, in paragraph 7 section 5 of the Terms of Service, it will have something that a lawyer could interpret as allowing this sort of behavior and the renters will sign.

    Sure, if the students are annoyed enough, they might not come back next year, but the wonderful thing (from their perspective) is there's a whole new year of students to fleece.

    Thinking on it, it's not textbooks that they should go after, it's pizza places. Try and reach any local pizza place, and you get transferred to Frank's pizza special page, which has a student special of only $3 more for pizzas ordered from that page :-).

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