Net Neutrality

What are my options for rural internet access?

Episode 1428

Lucas from Santa Barbara, CA
Network cable

Lucas does a lot of video streaming and gaming, but he's moving to a rural area and will have to find new high speed internet. What can he do? Leo says that rural internet access is a real issue here and Leo doesn't believe the FCC cares enough to make it happen. Satellite isn't the answer because it's got terrible latency and bandwidth caps. That being said, the best satellite provider is WildBlue's Exede. It's that or dialup.

Why do I have to pay a monthly fee for the internet?

Episode 1417

Michael from Grand Rapids, MI
Internet

Michael wants to know if the internet is just one computer talking to another, why do we need to pay ISPs for the privilege? Leo says because someone has to build the roads between them. So he's essentially paying the toll. But our internet freedom is at stake as Net Neutrality is under threat. Service providers want to charge both ways and they want to prioritize traffic. Net Neutrality is the idea that bits are bits and it shouldn't be that way.

Why Net Neutrality Is So Important

Episode 1407

Net Neutrality

We've been talking a lot about Net Neutrality, which is the idea that bits should flow along the "information superhighway" without being artificially impeded by an internet service provider. If the internet is an information superhighway, then the internet service provider is the exit ramp. It's how that stuff going back and forth across the world gets to your home. But wouldn't it be annoying if there were toll roads across town, and you'd need to pay a toll to get the internet to your house? If in order to get access to certain websites, you'd need to pay an additional toll?

Would more competition solve the net neutrality issue?

Episode 1404

Chris from Upland, CA
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Chris says that when it comes to Net Neutrality, the consumer would benefit with more competition, not less. But most cities have internet monopolies with only a few providers and that keeps the cost up. Third party DSL services have helped, and when the FCC issued must carry rules for them, it helped a lot. A true free market with choices would solve the net neutrality issues.

Net Neutrality Day of Action Was This Week

Episode 1404

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This week marked the annual Day of Action for Net Neutrality designed to lobby the FCC and Congress. Leo says that naturally, most of the broadcasters ignored or gave lip service to covering the event, because they are all tied to major internet providers who "have a dog in this hunt." Leo says that the internet needs to be treated like a utility, something that needs to be open and available to all.

Is my search data safe?

Episode 1377

Lucille from Chicago, IL
Google Search

Lucille is worried that the government will be able to look into our search history. Leo says that ISPs will be able to sell our history, but they will hold onto it, not the federal government. But let's face it, if they want it, they can get it.

Your ISP knows all of your data. But Google is responding to this by encrypting everyone's search history, so no one can see it. The data could be sold off, but it wouldn't be usable then. What isn't encrypted, they'll be able to not only read, but sell.

FCC Backs Away From Allowing Personal Set Top Cable Boxes

Episode 1360

Ajit Pai being sworn in as FCC Chairman

With the new chairman and his anti net neutrality views, the FCC has changed direction on a rule that would require cable companies to allow users to use third party set top boxes. Leo said it was a great idea, but in reality, cable companies were starting to see the handwriting on the wall that cutting the cable is gathering speed. The FCC has also allowed for zero rating, where you can get free data if you watch streaming from partnered services.

How can cities tax streaming services?

Seth from Long Beach, CA

Episode 1339

Seth is hearing that some cities want to tax streaming services. Leo says that is horrible. Pasadena is charging 9.4% on each streaming service starting in January. The argument is that cities are losing revenue due to cord cutting. 9.4% is a high percentage, and isn't it taxing citizens twice? They already tax the internet access, so why would people have to pay that tax twice because of streaming? It's also highly problematic from a net neutrality aspect. Will they pick and chose what services to tax? All bits should be treated equally.

FCC Decides to Reclassify Broadband Providers as Telecommunications Companies

Episode 1166

The FCC this week voted 3-2 to reclassify broadband providers as telecommunications companies. This gives the FCC the ability to regulate the internet. The FCC has tried to regulate internet service providers, but was thwarted by lawsuits. The courts agreed that the FCC had no right to regulate them unless they were telecommunications companies, not information companies. After considerable debate and 4 million comments to the FCC website, the FCC voted on Thursday to reclassify internet service providers as telecommunications companies.