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

Advertisements

Is Facebook’s Messenger The Future?

Back in 2011, Facebook acquired an instant messaging system that would become known as Facebook Messenger. Back then it was used primarily for sending messages between friends, but in time it grew into something more.

Over the years features have been added to the service, and it has become a separate entity from Facebook itself. You don’t even have to have an active Facebook account to use the services available through Messenger (although it does help to have one for certain features).

These days you can send pictures, files, money, and videos and it’s being used by everyone from individuals to companies who want to make it easy to contact them.

What makes it really powerful is the ability to make video calls and send automatic messages.

Well, I’m embarking on an experiment, which I’m hoping some of my readers will join me for.

Messenger allows people and companies to create automated messages through the use of software bots. These bots come in various forms, from sending automatic welcome messages to new subscribers all the way through to gateways to hotel room bookings.

I’m checking out a service called ManyChat, which allows me to create my own Messenger Bot, and customize it’s behavior. My plans are to use it to help readers find out more about my writing, me as a person, and to hold live chat sessions with those readers.

Readers who sign up to join me on Messenger will find themselves following a few questions that will help me introduce them to books that I can be sure they’ll be interested in. This happens by of applying tags to each subscriber, allowing me to send messages that hit a particular group of followers.

If you’re interested in joining me on Messenger, and wouldn’t mind me running the occasional experiment, click this button.

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.