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How you can monitor net neutrality from home

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) -- This week the FCC killed net neutrality, a government policy that required internet service providers to give customers equal access to content, regardless of its source.

Supporters of net neutrality fear ISPs will now throttle bandwidth for content that is not their own, or content for which providers have not paid the company a premium. 

Not so fast, says Tom Mattson, an Assistant Professor of Management at the University of Richmond. 

"I do not think that's going to be a huge issue at all. There are just too many ways to get around that. If there is  a website I want to get to and my ISPs not allowing me to get there, I'll find a way to get there."

If you're paranoid about the loss of net neutrality, there are ways to monitor both home networks and individual devices to ensure you're getting the content you want at the speed you pay for. 

Mattson suggests using Virtual Private Networks to hide web searches and activity from ISPs. He also recommends third-party firmware such as DDWRT, which gives consumers the power to see what's happening on a home router and monitor network activity for signs that content is being throttled.

Windows-based systems can currently detect bandwidth through functions in their Settings. 

Mattson also promotes commercial apps to monitor the bandwidth speed of individual devices. But he warns that users may have to compile their data to produce an accurate picture of how content is being delivered.     

Mattson suspects that ISPs will generally bow to the desires of their customers -- and that consumers will ultimately benefit from increased competition in the broadband industry.


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