Why I’m Supporting Net Neutrality

Most of you know I don’t normally post anything remotely political, but this is too important to miss commenting on. On December 14th, the FCC will vote to reclassify Internet Service Providers (ISPs) as information services, removing many of the regulations that stop internet service providers from controlling what their customers can see online.

DISCLAIMER: The information provided below is from hours of research, and correct to the best of my personal understanding.

Title 2 of the Communications Act of 1934 is a classification of communication services, which the ISPs were placed under back in 2015 as part of the Open Internet Order of 2015. This meant that ISPs were now classified as ‘common carriers’ and therefore subject to regulation under the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

This act also established rules for ISPs regarding net neutrality, prior to that it was voluntary for the ISPs to adhere to the concepts, and there was little regulation of their services.

Net Neutrality, or the Open Internet, is the concept of internet freedom whereby all internet service providers must treat all data delivered to consumers equally. That means they cannot:

Block content

Slow down the speed of content delivery

Speed up content delivery for companies/users in return for additional fees

Charge for ‘service packages’ in the way that cable packages do with television

Services like Netflix cannot pay an ISP to give their service an advantage over Amazon Prime Video.

ISPs cannot force people to pay for multiple packages that include different services… Example ‘streaming media’, ‘social media’, ‘images’, etc…

It means that my author website gets the same priority as Twitter

Ajit Pai, chairman of the FCC has called the Open Internet Order of 2015 and the placement of ISPs under Title 2 as “heavy handed” and “all about politics”. It was his proposal to reverse this decision that started the current debate amid claims that the ISPs don’t have the profit margins to withstand regulation. His proposal will place ISPs under Title 1 and prevent the FCC from adopting net neutrality oversight.

Sure enough, ISPs have complained about the reclassification for some time, and many Republican politicians point to a supposed decrease in investment in service development. In particular they highlight reduced spending for the development of broadband infrastructure, which they cite as proof that the current classification of ISPs under Title 2 is damaging investment.

However, many ISPs say that while there was an initial dip in spending they have actually either matched their pre-Title 2 investments, or increased them. The have also seen increases in share prices, which means that their shareholders are still backing them.

Many Democrats and internet companies have come out in opposition to Pai’s proposed changes. Senator Bill Nelson, of the Senate Commerce Committee, even stated that “depriving the FCC of its ongoing, forward-looking oversight of the broadband industry amounts to a dereliction of duty at a time when guaranteeing an open internet is more critical than ever.”

Startups, investors, and even a group of over 40 of the top internet companies have stated that there is no reason to change the rules at this time. Among those companies are the likes of Netflix, Google, and Facebook. In fact these same companies and investors have expressed serious concerns about what might happen without the oversight of the FCC and the current regulations.

ISPs could institute ‘fast lanes’ that offer faster speeds to certain services/sites while slowing down all other sites/services

ISPs could provide preferential access to their own services/sites, up to and including blocking competitor services/sites.

Web hosts or streaming services could be required to pay the ISPs to escape the ‘slow lanes’

Those unable to pay to be in the ‘fast lanes’ could find their sites losing traffic due to slower loading speeds.

Consumers could be asked to pay extra for certain services, or access to certain sites

Having to pay your ISP extra to access Netflix, because your ISP already offers a similar streaming service

Finding that your existing streaming subscriptions went up, because they services are paying the ISPs not to be in the ‘slow lanes’

Paying extra to get access to social media sites/services without long load delays

Finding that your favorite author/musician/sports team website takes ages to load

If the proposed changes from the FCC go ahead, these could be among the possible outcomes. With those in mind, I have decided to back the existing state of play, and informed my Representatives that I want Congress to step in and prevent the proposal from the FCC.

Please do your own research on this, because I’d like you to make an informed decision before you decide to try and influence the FCC vote.

When you have done that research, please visit https://www.battleforthenet.com/ to find out how you can help keep Net Neutrality in place.

REMEMBER: December 14th is the day the FCC votes on this proposal… Urgency is key

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English Rules Broken – “I before E”

I know I’m not the only one who was taught that “I comes before E, except after C”. But, then as I got older, I discovered an endless supply of words which broke that rule.

My wife brought the above example to my attention last night, after spotting it on a Facebook post, and I knew that I had to share.

There are many more “rules” of the English language that are frequently ignored, or aren’t hard and fast rules, as we’re led to believe. If you have any, please feel free to share them…

Update On My Reader Survey

A couple of weeks ago, I posted a request for feedback from my blog readers. And I’ve been looking at the answers I’ve received so far, and been a little surprised by the answers. But, I will admit, I’m working from a very small sample.

The Top Three Topics People Want More Of:

Book Spotlights

Guest Stories/Poems

Character Interviews

I’m planning to let this survey run until the end of the year, and get as many responses as possible.

While I’m waiting on the end of the year I will be making a few small changes to the post format. If you’re reading this post, you’ve seen two of them already.

A couple of weeks ago I started putting graphic headings in to the posts, instead of just text headers. And today you’ll see everything centered. I want to see if people find this easier to read, or if there is a preference for left justified text formats.

It’s clear that people want to hear more about upcoming books from the Urban Fantasy and Science-Fiction genres. So, I’ll be putting together a plan for reaching out to more authors so that I can provide the best in new books.

Then just before we head into 2018 I’m going to take a look at the final numbers, and work out where this blog will be heading.

Click the banner below to go to my reader survey. Let me know what you like and dislike about my posts, so I can provide material YOU want to read.

500+ Followers On Pinterest – Find out why!

A couple of months ago, I posted about my Pinterest account hitting 300 followers. That was mid-September. Now, just two months later, I’m pleased to announce that I’ve hit over 500 followers.

I’ve now got 51 boards, covering everything from topics I’m researching for my stories, to my personal interests. My followers can find everything from writing advice to writing prompts; from images of Seattle and the surrounding area to owls and wolves; from different kinds of magic to codes and languages.

You’ll even find a lot of my blog post images on there too, with links back to the original posts.

Since a lot of people who follow me here might not be aware of my Pinterest account, here’s a few of the things you can discover there.

  • Birds of Prey (4,000+ pins) – For those who know how much I love falconry, and getting up close with raptors, or love these amazing creatures themselves.
  • Writing Prompts (5,000+ pins) – Looking for a story starter, or something to kick-start a scene? This is where you want to be looking.
  • English Language (460+ pins) – Everything from spelling and grammar through to sayings and alternative words.
  • Big Cats (790+ pins) – Lions, Tigers, Leopards, Cougars… If they’re larger than a house cat, they’re here…
  • Bullet Journalling (680+ pins) – If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you’ve seen how I use my Bullet Journal to stay organized. This board covers everything from starting your own bullet journal to hacks that can help you really personalize it.
  • Character Naming (170+ pins) – This covers everything from explanations behind people’s names to what names were popular in given years.
  • Story Inspirations – Fantasy Art (960+ pins) – They say “a picture paints a thousand words”, and some of the images pinned to this board could inspire even more.
  • Wolves (520+ pins) – Getting up close to wolves was an experience I’ll never forget. And as a writer who loves wolf-shifters, I’d be remiss in not giving these glorious creatures their own board.
  • Creatures (190+ pins) – Creatures urban myth through to ancient gods and legendary beasts.
  • All Things Writing (960+ pins) -Yeah, actually not sure how I ended up with multiple boards for writing tips…

Pinterest just added a new feature, which I’m very excited to try out.

Instead of just adding pins to particular boards and watching it all pile up into a disorganized mess, you can now organize things a little more.

The answer is sub-boards, and over I’m going to be using this new feature pretty extensively over the coming months. I really want to give my followers the best chance of finding the pins that best suit their pinning habits, and that starts by being able to find them again whenever I want to.

So, keep your eyes on my boards, because they’re going to become better organized, as time allows. But that means I also have to go back through 20,000 pins to figure out what I need to move into sub-boards.

Not only will you learn something about me personally, but you’ll be getting an insight into the kinds of research that I do for my stories… Who knows, you might just find clues to an upcoming plotline…

Check out my Pinterest Boards Today!