Net Neutrality at Serious Risk, Please Take Action

Standard

NetNeutrality.jpg

You may have heard that the FCC is planning to dramatically roll back regulations that have ensured Net Neutrality.  What is Net Neutrality?  It basically ensures that you can reach any web site on the Internet without restriction, be it outright blocking or decreased speed to the point that it could become too frustrating to use the site in question.

What a very real example?  Do you use Google for searches?  Do you have FiOS from Verizon?  Here is a very real scenario.  Verizon recently purchased Yahoo, a competing search engine and free email service to Google and Gmail.  Now let’s imagine that you have Verizon FiOS for your broadband Internet access.  Up until now, under the Net Neutrality regulations, Verizon or any Internet Service Provider, like Comcast, Time Warner, Metrocast, Cox, etc., are required to allow you to browse where ever you wish and use what ever apps and services you want online.  Under the proposed roll back, Verizon could block you from getting to Google’s sites, apps and services, unless you upgrade to a more expensive plan that would allow it.  Or they could simply throttle the speed at which you could get to Google, making it difficult, if not impossible to use.

Each year, I travel to Washington, DC as part of the annual CompTIA DC Fly-In.  Each year, we have various guest speakers and I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and hearing from a few of the FCC Commissioners.  One of those is the current Chairperson, Ajit Pai.  The first time I heard him speak, I was impressed with him, but I am thoroughly dismayed by his move to roll back Net Neutrality.  It serves only one purpose, to restrict equal access online, earn the ISP’s more income and pander to special interests.

To be fair, Chairman Pai has made some reasonable arguments for why some of these regulations may not be what is needed to ensure equal access, but I still find more flaw with his proposal that reasonable examples to support a roll back.

I encourage you to contact the FCC and your elected members of Congress to express your opposition to the roll back plans.  The FCC is voting on December 14 and if enough voices are heard, we have the ability to help affect the outcome of that vote.

If you value an unrestricted Internet, you want to take action.  Here is a link to one web site that makes it easy to do so.

https://www.battleforthenet.com/

T Minus 2 to Black Friday: Today’s Recommendation

Standard

If you are thinking of cutting the cord, your options have never been so plentiful.  From Smart TV’s to streaming media devices, it may actually be possible to cut the cord this year.

One of my favorite streaming devices is the Amazon Fire TV.  It’s a small HDMI dongleFireTV that plugs in to the HDMI port on your TV.  Amazon sells three versions, the Fire TV Stick at $39.99 is the smallest and portable.  The current version does not yet support 4K video, but still delivers impressive quality, at 1080p, on any TV.  The Fire TV is $69.99 and does support 4K and HDR video.  There is also a bundle that includes an HD antenna to pick up local digital broadcast networks.

If you are an Amazon Prime member, you have access to an incredible library of content and apps to really make the Fire TV and impressive media device.  Each version also includes the Alexa enabled voice remote, which lets you search and control playback with your voice.

With live TV services like Hulu Plus with Live TV and YouTube TV, you now have access to more services than ever.  Most concerns with cutting the cord are around access to local broadcast networks, including syndicated sports broadcasts.  Amazon Fire TV and many of the other streaming services now have options to satisfy just about every viewing desire you may have.

If your cable bill is really starting to bother you, this may be the year to explore cutting the cord once and for all.  Even if you are not yet ready to cut the cord, these devices make a great gift that will allow the recipient to explore the world of entertainment beyond what the cable company delivers.