Dec 16

Title II Sounded Great Then Jane Saw Her Bill.

imageOne of the most immediate and significant consequences of reclassifying broadband as a Title II telecommunications service is that it provides a new opening for governments wanting to impose a variety of new taxes and fees on Internet services. In recent weeks NCTA has identified potential concerns about the impact of Universal Service Fund contributions and state and local taxes and fees that would result from reclassification. A recent study from the Progressive Policy Institute confirms these concerns and suggests that the additional burden on broadband consumers could be as much as $15 billion annually.

Title II unquestionably is worse for broadband consumers from a tax perspective. In fact, no party advocating for reclassification under Title II has argued that such a policy would not lead to any new taxes and fees on broadband. But some of these advocates, led by Free Press, have suggested that the magnitude of these changes is not significant and that the FCC can easily avoid these consequences altogether through a mix of forbearance and preemption and jurisdictional rulings.

Title 2

So as the debate bizarrely continues over whether Title II will cause consumers serious harm or mere moderate discomfort, perhaps we should ask: why do harm at all? Perhaps it would help for Free Press to visit its own archives. When the question of imposing USF contribution requirements on broadband service (i.e., “a new broadband tax”) was separate from the question of open Internet regulations, Free Press consistently (and correctly) was opposed to such a policy:

“If the Commission decides to modify the current system of USF contributions, it should take special care to avoid stunting the growth in consumer adoption of broadband by placing a USF assessment on residential broadband connections.” Letter from Free Press to the FCC (October 13, 2008)

“Because broadband is a developing market, any USF assessment, no matter how small, would likely result in a net decrease in total broadband subscribership nationwide.” Dismantling Digital Deregulation: Toward a National Broadband Strategy (May 11, 2009)

Assessing the USF contribution requirement on broadband connections “would result in a net loss of nearly 2 million broadband subscribers.” Letter from Free Press to the FCC (August 10, 2010)

“Our policymakers should think carefully before creating a new broadband tax. The big concern is that because consumer demand is more sensitive to price increases on emerging services like broadband than established ones like telephone service, a broadband tax could actually undermine adoption in low-income and senior populations, the very people most likely to be disconnected.” Op-ed by S. Derek Turner, Research Director at Free Press (August 30, 2012)

While there are many divisive issues associated with broadband regulation, there should be universal agreement among regulators, ISPs, and advocates that our nation’s policies should strive to promote broadband adoption, not discourage it. And whether new fees show up as new USF line items, new taxes, or some other governmental charge, it’s broadband consumers that foot the bill. In its zeal to burden the Internet with Title II, even Free Press can’t run away from its previous advocacy that consumers have the most to lose.

Dec 15

The Real Cost of Regulating the Internet.

imageThe open Internet debate has long focused on protecting content developers from discriminatory treatment by Internet service providers (ISPs). Those who advocate in favor of strong network neutrality rules typically argue that “the next Facebook” or “the next Google” will never see the light of day in a world where ISPs can arbitrarily block or slow down access to new sites. Consumer benefits are decidedly secondary in this line of argument – consumers will benefit only if content companies benefit. With talk of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) looking to impose sweeping net neutrality rules, which would entail regulating broadband Internet connections as something akin to the rotary telephone, the question of consumer impacts necessarily arises. Will consumers benefit from this approach? According to one recent study, the answer is a resounding “no.”
Left unaddressed in the advocacy in favor of such stringent rules is the actual cost of the rules for consumers. The Progressive Policy Institute (PPI), a liberal think-tank in D.C., set out to explore how the implementation of so-called Title II open Internet rules would impact Internet customers’ bills. The conclusion? Internet bills will rise significantly if the FCC goes down the Title II path. More specifically, those with a wireline connection at home – cable, DSL, or fiber – will see their bills increase by an average of $67 per year, while the bills of those with mobile broadband will increase by $72. These increases would stem from a range of new taxes and fees levied on Internet connections by local, state, and federal government. In short, the very act of opening the door to Title II would unleash dozens, if not hundreds, of levies that were originally meant for more basic communications services.

The application of these taxes and fees to broadband connections would be a rational response by state and local policymakers, who are always looking to bolster revenues, especially at a time when government finances remain volatile. But these new fees would be on top of already high tax rates for mobile communications services, which are among the most heavily taxed services in the country. According to MyWireless.org, consumers in every state must pay a wireless tax in addition to federal fees associated with supporting the Universal Service Fund (which currently stand at 5.82%) and sales tax. Taken together, these wireless-specific taxes can add as much as 25% to monthly bills. By applying Title II to mobile broadband, the FCC would open the floodgates to further taxation of these already burdened services.

Although all consumers would feel the pain of higher bills, minority and low-income consumers would feel the brunt of it. Blacks and Hispanics rely on mobile broadband to access the Internet more than most other groups. Their use of smartphones and wireless data networks has long been understood as a critical on-ramp for participating in our digital society, especially since adoption rates of wireline broadband connections in their homes have long lagged rates in most other households. Applying Title II to their wireless connections would thus encumber these communities more than most. Similarly, for low-income households that are already struggling to pay their mobile bill, higher prices resulting from the application of Title II would operate as a regressive tax increase.

These are more than hypotheticals. These are likely outcomes that can be avoided. The FCC does not have to use Title II to achieve what it wants to achieve. It can protect the open Internet by developing rules that rely on a different part of federal law – section 706 of the Telecommunications Act. Doing so would allow the FCC to move forward with new rules without opening the door to a slew of new taxes. This approach would also avoid having to treat broadband, the most dynamic communications technology in history, to rules that were developed during an age dominated by basic telephone service. For these many reasons, the FCC should embrace section 706 and explicitly reject Title II. Such an approach will put consumers first, which is how it should be.

Dec 05

LISTA Georgia Technology Council Announces the 2014 Latina of Excellence Awardees

Cristina-Saralegui-mainLISTA Announces Top 15 Latinas of Excellence Award in Tech and Business in Georgia Recognizing Latinas in Business Who Go Above and Beyond the Call of Duty
 
Atlanta, Ga Dec 5,  2014,  In celebration of the achievements and accomplishments of our nation’s most inspiring Latina Tech and Business women, Latinos in Information Sciences and Technology Association (LISTA) Georgia Tech Council today announced we will conduct our “Latinos/as Tech Forum and the Latina Tech and Leader Luncheon on December 10th 2014 at the Georgia Tech Research Center in Atlanta, Georgia.  This Annual Tech Leaders Forum and Luncheon is the region’s premier gathering for Latino tech professionals and businesses leaders.  Each year LISTA honors the accomplishments of Latino and Latinas in the tech business community.  In particular, this year LISTA will recognize the many contributions Latinas have made to drive our country’s economic recovery and prosperity. 
LISTA Latina Tech and Business Leaders Power Luncheon will be hosted by WSBTV’s Anchor Wendy Corona with welcoming remarks by Marlem Rios Nuclear at Georgia Powers and honored guest speakers including, Nina Vaca, Chairwoman and CEO of Pinnacle Technical Resources and the 1st Chairwoman of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Maria Cardona, Principal at Dewey Square and 1st Latina CNN Presidential Political Analyst and Lifetime Achiever Award recipient Cristina Saralegui, Journalist, 1st Latina Talk Show Host.
The year’s event is brought to you by presenting sponsors, Georgia Power and Aetna. LISTA Sponsors also include Coca Cola, AT&T, OVNLatino Networks, Macy’s Systems and Technology, Univision, Comcast Universal,  Negocios Now, Verizon, Nuevo Georgia and Lanza Group.
It is people like our awardees who represents the very best that Georgia and America has to offer. They are the manifestation of dedication, integrity and intellect said Jose A Marquez-Leon, National President and CEO of Latinos in Information Sciences and Technology Association. It is precisely with the achievements of these winners in mind, that our commitment to the Latino community of Georgia and Techno Centro - The Institute for Socio-Economic Empowerment, remains as strong as ever stressed Marquez-Leon. They are role models in the best possible sense of the word for our next generation of leaders.

Recipients will be honored at an awards ceremony at the Georgia Tech Research Center in downtown Atlanta on Wednesday December 10th  at 11:00 am. This will also kick off LISTA 2015 Season.
The LISTA Latinas  Excellence Awards acknowledges Latinas that have given time and resources to make LISTA grow in the State of Georgia and who are the unsung heroes of our community. Winners are selected by LISTA’s local Board of Directors in an online vote. Selection of these awardees was based on individual business and community contributions to advance the Latino community in 2013.
Georgia Latinas of Excellence Class of 2014
1.   Accounting - Grace Williams, Grace Williams CPA
2.   Architect- Marie Guerra-Stoll, GSB Architects
3.   Small Business Accelerator - Veronica Maldonado,  GMSDC
4.   Legal - Zulma Lopez, Lopez Immigration LLC
5.   Cultural- Gabriela Gonzalez-Lambert, Instituto de Mexico.
6.   Business- Barbarella Diaz, Diaz Foods
7.   BroadCast- Mariela Romero, Univision
8.   Georgia Lifetime Achiever,  Del Clark
9.   Technology- Blanca Rodriguez, HomeDepot
10. Technology- Marline Santiago-CookVentyx Corporation
11. Government Beacon - Anna Torres, City of Atlanta 
13.  Health - Rocio Woody,  The Road to Recovery 
14. Rising Star -Angela Ximena Araya Hurtado, Hispanic Organization Promoting Education (HOPE)
15. National Lifetime Achiever 2014 Cristina Saralegui
Thanks to our corporate partner LISTA will realize the Latino/as Tech Forum  and Latinas Leaders Power Luncheon, saidChris Rodriguez, COO /Co-founder, National Latinos in Information Sciences and Technology Association’s. “It is through the commitment of corporation like Aetna, AT&T, NCTA, Coca Cola, Comcast, Lockheed Martin, and Verizon, that LISTA’s Techno Centro in Norcross, Ga. is able to continue our mission to educate, motivate and empower the Latino community with technology and showcase the best of the Latino community in Georgia. I can think of no better way to kick off LISTA 2015 season.
                                                               # # #
About Latino in Information Sciences and Technology Association (LISTA)
LISTA ( www.a-lista.org and www.technocentro.org) promotes the utilization of the technology sectors for the empowerment of the Latino community. We are an organization that is committed to bringing various elements of Technology under one central hub to facilitate our partners, members and the community with the leverage and education they need to succeed in a highly advanced technologically driven society. LISTA Mission is to educate, motivate and encourage the use of technology in the Latino community and empowering them to bridge the digital divide. @lista1 Hashtag: #techlatino
LISTA:  America’s 21st Century Information Sciences and Technology Workforce.
Press Contact
Yvette Moise – LISTA
770- 765-3479
moisey@a-lista.org
http://www.techlatino.org

 

Dec 02

At Fox News Latino, Immigrants Go From Target to Target Audience

max_600_400_nilp_logo_2.0_largRoger Ailes’ attempt to capitalize on a “tremendous business opportunity”–and win votes for the Republican Party. By Aldo GuerreroFAIR (December 1, 2014)

The anti-immigrant reporting of Fox News Channel (FNC) comes as no surprise, considering that its viewership is similar to the base of the Republican Party-older white conservatives. The growing Latino share of the population, however, spurred the creation of the website Fox News Latino (FNL) to try to capture this audience.

 Fox News president Roger Ailes (New Republic2/11/13), who oversees both outlets, describes the Latino demographic as both a “tremendous business opportunity” and a potentially capturable segment of the electorate: “The fact is, we have a lot-Republicans have a lot more opportunity for them.” Though he corrected himself-changing “we” to “Republicans”-for the long-time Republican operative Ailes, the political interests of the network and the party are interchangeable.

There have been various instances where both FNC and FNL covered the same story with different headlines catering to different audiences. For example, the liberal Media Matters (8/8/14) compared the two outlets’ use of different headlines to describe an unauthorized immigrant student receiving a scholarship for his immigration activism: The FNL headline (8/6/14) read: “In Rare Move, University Grants $22k Scholarship to Undocumented Student.”FNC went with the blunt slur of “Money for Illegals.”

But the differences between FNC and FNL go beyond headlines. Coverage of the child refugee crisis, where thousands of unaccompanied minors attempted to cross the southern border from Central American countries, provides a good case study.

 Like other corporate media outlets, FNC largely avoided meaningful context by downplaying the violent conditions of the three Central American countries-Guate-mala, El Salvador and Honduras-that provided the bulk of the refugees (Extra!, 9/14). FNC consistently blamed the Obama administration’s supposedly lax immigration policies-particularly the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program-for encouraging young refugees to come.

Citing an El Paso Intelligence Center report (7/7/14Breitbart Texas,7/14/14), FNC‘s Megyn Kelly (Kelly File7/16/14) asserted that children were crossing the border only because they “believe they will get asylum, thanks to policy statements by President Obama, and are not, as was claimed, fleeing any increased violence back at home.” Violence as the primary motive for these children leaving their countries was merely, as Bill O’Reilly (O’Reilly Factor, 7/16/14) put it, a “myth that the far left is putting out.” Reducing the emphasis on violence in those countries made it easier for FNC pundits and Republican lawmakers to call for the children’s swift deportation.

Over at FNL, meanwhile, a Q&A-style article (7/20/14), neutrally headlined “A Primer on the Border Crisis-Its Causes, Politics and the Bickering Among Lawmakers,” attempted to answer why there was a sudden influx of immigrant children. Its answer:

Crime, gang violence, poverty across Central America, a desire to reunite with parents or other relatives. White House officials also say smugglers have persuaded families to pay them to bring children to the US by lying to them about their fate in this country.

The FNL report was not exactly a mirror image of the FNC‘s, being more “fair and balanced.” Although FNL acknowledged harsh conditions in those countries were central factors, Republican criticisms of Obama’s DACA program, and suggestions that ending it might solve the problem, were also mentioned.

On Fox News Channel, the “immigrant child” would more likely be IDed as “illegal alien kid.”

A starker contrast could be found two months later. FNL (9/11/14) ran an exclusive and rather affecting report about five children fleeing gang violence in El Salvador. A gang had threatened to kill the children after they witnessed the gang shoot their 21-year-old neighbor. Their hometown was described as having a “far higher murder rate than the national average.” Their mother-who fled an abusive husband in El Salvador to live in the United States-had paid smugglers “tens of thousands of dollars” for their safe passage. Clearly, violence was a central theme to this particular story-as it was for the broader refugee crisis.

One would be hard-pressed to find such empathetic coverage on FNC. Unfortunately, the FNL piece was published in early September, when media coverage of the refugee crisis had largely subsided.

 FNC, by that point, had shifted its attention to the purported negative impacts immigrant children would have on US public schools. Brenda Buttner, host of the FNC business program Bulls & Bears (8/9/14), prefaced a discussion on the surge of immigrant children: “Forget the Ebola scare. Is it really the back-to-school scare?” She briefly mentioned that some children were quarantined with chickenpox, but the panel discussion that followed focused on how much of a financial burden these children would become to local public school districts. While most states require children to be vaccinated against chickenpox anyway, telling viewers that their children are threatened by disease-carrying immigrants (who want to benefit from free public schools) is a great way to capitalize on xenophobic fears.

 FNC emphasized the word “illegal” to describe immigrant children now in school. In two articles (8/30/149/2/14) covering the “crisis in the classroom,” children were referred to as “illegal” a total of 11 times, with references to “illegal immigrant children,” “illegal minors” and “illegal alien kids” in the headlines, in quotes from Republican lawmakers and in the reporters’ own words.

When FNL (10/14/14) did its own reporting on the situation, the word “illegal” was never used to characterize the children. Instead, they opted to use alternative-and less pejorative-phrasing, such as “newly arrived migrants” and “unaccompanied minors.”

The tone of the coverage was also more sympathetic and lacking in fear-mongering. Instead of fixating on the supposed damage these children will do to US public schools, the story focused on the difficulties these children personally face in overcoming gaps in education and receiving social services. The story even mentions how violence in their home countries prevented traveling to school, which adds credence to the claim that violence is central to families’ decisions to migrate. Most of these details were absent in conservative FNCcoverage. And, once again, the story appeared on FNL only after FNC had already reported on it.

 When comparing the content of the two outlets, Associated Press reports uploaded to the channels’ websites were not included. In 2013,AP (4/2/13) announced it would drop the use of “illegal immigrant” in its stories (FAIR Blog4/4/13), having concluded that  “illegal” should only be used to describe actions, not people. (AP still accepts “illegal immigration.”)

Unsurprisingly, FNC (4/3/13) was critical of this change, given that the phrase is central to its immigration coverage. The headline for its report stressed that the changes were “under scrutiny,” although the report also quoted two supporters of the change: AP itself and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. The three sources who defended the use of “illegal” were former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, the conservative Media Research Center, and the Americans for Legal Immigration Political Action Committee.

ALIPAC described AP‘s changes as “totalitarian steps to make ‘illegal immigrants’ disappear with a stroke of a pen,” and announced it would now refer to immigrants as “illegal invaders.” Such ultra right-wing vitriol was sure to rev up the anti-immigrant audience that FNC caters to.

The FNL version (4/2/13) used a more straightforward and neutral headline: “‘Illegal Immigrant’ Dropped From Associated Press Stylebook.” Journalist José Antonio Vargas, the Applied Research Center and AP (again) were mentioned as supporting the changes. For opposition, the right-wing Federation for American Immigration Reform and ALIPAC were represented, but ALIPAC’s vitriolic comments on the “totalitarian” changes and its determination to use “illegal invaders” were not mentioned, presumably so as not to alienate the Latino audience.

 As long as violence and poverty exist in Latin America, they will likely be the central drivers for migration. It is politically convenient forFNC to whitewash the pervasive violence and harsh economic conditions of Central America-and ignore the contributions US policies have made to these conditions (FAIR Blog7/14/14).

The refugee crisis and the school problems that followed were stories framed as “illegals” coming to take advantage of the United States’ offerings. The repetition of this tired trope paves the way for the further antagonization of all immigrant communities. But most importantly to FNC, misrepresenting the Latino immigrant experience engages their white Republican viewership.

Meanwhile, by focusing on Latino issues without the xenophobic spin-and
occasionally providing insightful reporting that digs deep into the plight of immigrant Latinos-FNL is able to expose a broad Latino audience to conservative ideas that might lead them into the Republican fold. During the election season, FNL featured reports that focused on individual candidates and elected officials and their relationship to the Latino community. In 10 days shortly before the midterm elections (October 21-30), a total of seven Republicans had positive stories dedicated to them, including Sen. Marco Rubio, Sen. Ted Cruz, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Jeb Bush’s son George P. Bush, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez and two congressional candidates.

Five Democrats had stories dedicated to them, with three receiving positive coverage: Labor Secretary Tom Perez, Rep. Luis Gutierrez and a mayoral candidate in Rhode Island. The other two, who received more negative coverage, were Rep. Joe Garcia, who is fighting allegations of corruption, andHillary Clinton, who received flak from immigration activists-as if Republicans aren’t also criticized by immigration activists. For good measure, a Pew study (10/29/14) of “waning” Latino support for Democrats was also featured.

By fear-mongering about Latino immigrants, FNC is able to pander to xenophobic white conservatives who make up the base of the Republican Party, while FNL, with feel-good coverage of Latino conservatives, can make a bid to expand the party by bringing in Latinos. It’s a powerful strategy-so long as the two target audiences don’t compare notes.

Nov 29

Brain Food- Sites You Can Learn From.

laptop-computer-working-focus-3Rather than waste your life on Facebook and Instagram, put your daily interneting to good use.

Here’s a list of websites that will actually make you smarter:

CodeAcademy — Learn programming languages like HTML, CSS, and Javascript with this free, interactive resource.

Coursera — With more than 800 free courses on topics that range from internet history to financial engineering, the education platform helps you deepen your knowledge across a range of subjects.

Digital Photography School — Read through this goldmine of articles to improve your photography skills; they’re helpful even if you’re a complete beginner. There’s also an active forum where you can find a community of other photographers to connect with.

Duolingo — Sharpen your language skills with this fun, addictive game. It’s a college-quality education without the price tag. If you’re looking for more free language-learning materials, you can also try BBC Languages.

edX — From classes like The Science of Happiness to Responsible Innovation, edX offers tons of MOOCs from many of the world’s top universities.

CodeacademyScreenshot/Harrison Jacobs

Factsie — Did you know the horned lizard can shoot blood out of its tear ducts? Keep clicking through this site to find unusual historical and scientific facts, along with links to sources. Another great site for fun facts is Today I Found Out.

Fast Company’s 30-Second MBA — In short video clips from from accomplished corporate executives, you’ll learn great business advice and life lessons, really fast.

Freerice — Expand your vocabulary while feeding the hungry. It’s the best way to feel good about yourself and learn words you can use for the rest of your life.

Gibbon — This is the ultimate playlist for learning. Users collect articles and videos to help you learn things from iOS programming to effective storytelling.gibbonScreenshot/Harrison Jacobs

 

Instructables — Through fun videos and simple instructions, you can learn how to make anything from a tennis ball launcher to a backyard fort. You can also submit your own creations and share what you make with the rest of the world. Still wanting to learn more? You can visit eHow and gain a wide range of skills, such as how to cook, decorate, fix, plan, garden, or even make a budget.

Investopedia — Learn everything you need to know about the world of investing, markets, and personal finance.

Khan Academy — Not only will you learn a wide variety of subjects through immensely helpful videos, but you’ll get a chance to practice them and keep track of your learning statistics, too. It’s a great way to further your understanding of subjects you’ve already taken or to learn something new.khanScreenshot/Harrison Jacobs

 

LearnVest — The personal finance site offers news, classes, and resources to help you learn the basics of managing your money.

Lifehacker — On this highly useful site, you’ll find an assortment of tips, tricks, and downloads for getting things done.

Lumosity — Train your brain with these fun, scientifically designed games. You can build your own Personalized Training Program to improve your memory and attention and track your progress.

 

lumosityScreenshot/Harrison Jacobs

MIT Open Courseware — Want to be as smart as an MIT student? Check out classes and course materials from the institute here.

Powersearching with Google — Learn how to find anything you ever wanted by mastering your Google search skills. Also, read this article on 100 Google tricks that will save you time in school.

Quora — Get your questions answered by other smart people, or read through the questions other people have asked. You can learn anything from productivity hacks to the best foods of all time.

Recipe Puppy — Enter in all the ingredients you can find in your kitchen, and this wonderful search engine will give you a list of all the recipes you can make with what you have. It’s a great way to learn how to cook without the hassle of buying everything beforehand. For a more extensive list of recipes, try AllRecipes.

Spreeder — This free, online speed-reading software will improve your reading speed and comprehension. Just paste the text you’d like to read, and it’ll take care of the rest.

StackOverflow — It’s a question and answer site for programmers — basically a coder’s best friend. Other great sources to learn code are Learn X in Y Minutes and W3Schools.

TED-Ed — This is a new initiative launched by TED with the idea of “lessons worth sharing.” It is meant to spark the curiosity of learners around the world by creating a library of award-winning, animated lessons created by expert educators, screenwriters, and animators. You can create your own customized lesson to distribute around the world by adding questions, discussion topics, and other supplementary materials to any educational video on YouTube.

Udemy — Feed your brain with online courses on everything from web development to playing the guitar. You can also teach your own classes through the platform.

Unplug The TV — A fun website that suggests informative videos for you to watch instead of TV. Topics range from space mining to “How Containerization Shaped the Modern World.”

VSauce — This Youtube Channel provides mind-blowing facts and the best of the internet, which will make you realize how amazing our world is. What would happen if the world stopped spinning? Why do we get bored? How many things are there? Watch the videos and find out.

his is an update of an article originally written by Maggie Zhang.

Nov 12

Lets Put Internet Users First in Advancing President Obama’s Open Internet Goals

This week, President Obama published his principles for the Open Internet on whitehouse.gov, noting: “More than any other Jason_Llorenzinvention of our time, the Internet has unlocked possibilities we could just barely imagine a generation ago. And here’s a big reason we’ve seen such incredible growth and innovation: Most Internet providers have treated Internet traffic equally.” The President’s principles for ensuring this treatment of Internet traffic for the future calls for “no blocking, no throttling, increased transparency, and no paid prioritization,” along with development of careful rules to ensure these principles, by regulating the Internet as a public utility for the first time in history. Almost everyone agrees on the majority of those principles. But let’s take a step back to think about the needs of real people – real Internet users – in the midst of this drive to protect access to content. Today’s Internet users have access to all available, free content, without challenge. Our most significant Internet challenges lie elsewhere. Millions of Americans still cannot afford to access the Internet on their platform of choice, and, that too few Americans have 21st century skills necessary to compete and create in the digital economy. Hispanic, African American, poor and rural communities remain staggeringly separate from Internet wealth. Retooling schools and teachers for the 21st century to fix this is a significant priority. Jobs and economic opportunity is also a priority. Unless government is going to foot the entire Internet infrastructure bill, we need continued private sector investment in the technologies of the future, which include ever faster wired broadband, and innovative satellite and wireless Internet that will one day be a viable competitive option to a home broadband connection. What is missing from the net neutrality debate is this connection to the needs of real people. A robust, equitable Internet ecosystem requires a lot of investment – billions of dollars annually. The Internet has been governed smartly, not as a utility, but as an information service by Section 706 of the Telecom Act for decades in order to facilitate that investment. The framework has been successful. Real people have benefited from the millions of middle class jobs (including blue collar jobs) and everyday access to the modern Internet. What differentiates the Internet from your utilities is that the Internet must get better year over year to meet our 21st century goals, and beyond. Utilities, in contrast, do not advance the way the Internet has. Your water company is not attracting investment and growing year by year. But the Internet has, especially because it lives in a different regulatory category. Thoughtful proposals from national organizations including MMTC and others have called on the FCC to advance President Obama’s main principles, but to go further, calling for strong protections for everyday Internet users, through a working mechanism for complaints for throttling or blocking. They have also called for establishing an assumption against paid priority, which would leave open limited opportunities for innovative partnerships that would not put the entire cost of innovative Internet offerings on you and me, and our monthly bill. Putting Internet users’ real needs first would not create rules that foreclose the kind of innovative options making wireless Internet more beneficial, including so-called “zero-rated plans” that allow unlimited use of certain app(s) of choice, without eating into a poor family’s monthly data. These kinds of choices make the Internet more accessible, and more beneficial to everyone. These options would not be available under a strict net neutrality regime. Putting the needs of real people first means protecting their right to access all content on the Internet, AND it also means crafting rules that don’t foreclose what has worked to make the modern Internet better. It should not mean eliminating the mechanism through which the Internet has gotten faster year by year, by treating it instead as a stale pipeline left to crumble under last century’s telephone rules. To achieve the President’s primary principles, and prioritize the needs of every day Internet users, let protect access to content through smart rules because today’s politics are calling for it. But lets also create real, nimble consumer protections. And the FCC must find a middle ground that, instead of retrofitting century old utility rules on a modern miracle, keeps the Internet evolving, innovative, open and getting faster. This would be the best way to meet the needs of real people, and solve real problems online.  

Nov 11

We Salute all our Veterns on this Special Day of Rememberence.

 

veterans-day-300x249 (1)FAST FACTS
Each year, Veterans Day is celebrated on Nov. 11, honoring the veterans who fought in the World Wars I and II. The holiday was first celebrated on Nov. 11, 1919 – on the first anniversary of the end of World War I – when it was called “Armistice Day.” It became a national holiday in 1938 – twelve years after Congress passed a resolution making Nov. 11 a day for annual observance. To learn more about the holiday, here are 7 interesting Veterans Day facts:

 

1. President Eisenhower officially changed the name of the holiday from Armistice Day to Veterans Day in 1954.

 

2. Veterans Day was not always celebrated on Nov. 11. The Uniform Holidays Bill was passed by Congress in 1968, which mandated the holiday be celebrated on the fourth Monday of October, and went into effect in 1971. But taking the historical significance into consideration, President Ford changed the holiday back to Nov. 11 in 1975.

 

3. The United States was not the only country that took part in the World Wars I and II and as such, is not the only country that celebrates veterans. For example, Canada celebrates Remembrance Day and Britain celebrates Remembrance Sunday on the second Sunday of November.

 

4. According to 2013 statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 23.2 million veterans in the United States. Of them, 9.3 million are over the age of 65 and 1.6 million are women.

 

5. There are 39,890 veterans of World War II, the Vietnam War and the Korean War still living.

 

6. On Nov. 11, 1921, the first unknown soldier was reburied at the Arlington National Cemetery in a tomb inscribed with: “Here rests in honored glory An American Soldier Known but to God.”

 

7. On May 28, 1984, an unknown soldier from the Vietnam War was reburied in the Arlington National Cemetery. DNA analysis was able to identify the soldier’s identity in 1998. He was 24-year-old pilot Michael Blassie and was shot down on the border of Cambodia in 1972. (Latin Times)

 

“Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.” – John F. Kennedy

 

Nov 10

Verizon Statement on White House Title II Announcement

verizon-logo-primary“Verizon supports the open Internet, and we continue to believe that the light-touch regulatory approach in place for the past two decades has been central to the Internet’s success. Reclassification under Title II, which for the first time would apply 1930s-era utility regulation to the Internet, would be a radical reversal of course that would in and of itself threaten great harm to an open Internet, competition and innovation. That course will likely also face strong legal challenges and would likely not stand up in court. Moreover, this approach would be gratuitous. As all major broadband providers and their trade groups have conceded, the FCC already has sufficient authority under Section 706 to adopt rules that address any practices that threaten harm to consumers or competition, including authority to prohibit ‘paid prioritization.’ For effective, enforceable, legally sustainable net neutrality rules, the Commission should look to Section 706.”
View this post on the Verizon Public Policy Blog

 

Nov 10

The Internet has been One of the Greatest Gifts our Economy says President Obama.

wh   The President’s Statement Barack An open Internet is essential to the American economy, and increasingly to our very way of life. By lowering the cost of launching a new idea, igniting new political movements, and bringing communities closer together, it has been one of the most significant democratizing influences the world has ever known. “Net neutrality” has been built into the fabric of the Internet since its creation — but it is also a principle that we cannot take for granted. We cannot allow Internet service providers (ISPs) to restrict the best access or to pick winners and losers in the online marketplace for services and ideas. That is why today, I am asking the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to answer the call of almost 4 million public comments, and implement the strongest possible rules to protect net neutrality. When I was a candidate for this office, I made clear my commitment to a free and open Internet, and my commitment remains as strong as ever. Four years ago, the FCC tried to implement rules that would protect net neutrality with little to no impact on the telecommunications companies that make important investments in our economy. After the rules were challenged, the court reviewing the rules agreed with the FCC that net neutrality was essential for preserving an environment that encourages new investment in the network, new online services and content, and everything else that makes up the Internet as we now know it. Unfortunately, the court ultimately struck down the rules — not because it disagreed with the need to protect net neutrality, but because it believed the FCC had taken the wrong legal approach. The FCC is an independent agency, and ultimately this decision is theirs alone. I believe the FCC should create a new set of rules protecting net neutrality and ensuring that neither the cable company nor the phone company will be able to act as a gatekeeper, restricting what you can do or see online. The rules I am asking for are simple, common-sense steps that reflect the Internet you and I use every day, and that some ISPs already observe.

These bright-line rules include:

  • No blocking. If a consumer requests access to a website or service, and the content is legal, your ISP should not be permitted to block it. That way, every player — not just those commercially affiliated with an ISP — gets a fair shot at your business.
  • No throttling. Nor should ISPs be able to intentionally slow down some content or speed up others — through a process often called “throttling” — based on the type of service or your ISP’s preferences.
  • Increased transparency. The connection between consumers and ISPs — the so-called “last mile” — is not the only place some sites might get special treatment. So, I am also asking the FCC to make full use of the transparency authorities the court recently upheld, and if necessary to apply net neutrality rules to points of interconnection between the ISP and the rest of the Internet.
  • No paid prioritization. Simply put: No service should be stuck in a “slow lane” because it does not pay a fee. That kind of gatekeeping would undermine the level playing field essential to the Internet’s growth. So, as I have before, I am asking for an explicit ban on paid prioritization and any other restriction that has a similar effect.

If carefully designed, these rules should not create any undue burden for ISPs, and can have clear, monitored exceptions for reasonable network management and for specialized services such as dedicated, mission-critical networks serving a hospital. But combined, these rules mean everything for preserving the Internet’s openness. The rules also have to reflect the way people use the Internet today, which increasingly means on a mobile device. I believe the FCC should make these rules fully applicable to mobile broadband as well, while recognizing the special challenges that come with managing wireless networks. To be current, these rules must also build on the lessons of the past. For almost a century, our law has recognized that companies who connect you to the world have special obligations not to exploit the monopoly they enjoy over access in and out of your home or business. That is why a phone call from a customer of one phone company can reliably reach a customer of a different one, and why you will not be penalized solely for calling someone who is using another provider. It is common sense that the same philosophy should guide any service that is based on the transmission of information — whether a phone call, or a packet of data. So the time has come for the FCC to recognize that broadband service is of the same importance and must carry the same obligations as so many of the other vital services do. To do that, I believe the FCC should reclassify consumer broadband service under Title II of the Telecommunications Act — while at the same time forbearing from rate regulation and other provisions less relevant to broadband services. This is a basic acknowledgment of the services ISPs provide to American homes and businesses, and the straightforward obligations necessary to ensure the network works for everyone — not just one or two companies. Investment in wired and wireless networks has supported jobs and made America the center of a vibrant ecosystem of digital devices, apps, and platforms that fuel growth and expand opportunity. Importantly, network investment remained strong under the previous net neutrality regime, before it was struck down by the court; in fact, the court agreed that protecting net neutrality helps foster more investment and innovation. If the FCC appropriately forbears from the Title II regulations that are not needed to implement the principles above — principles that most ISPs have followed for years — it will help ensure new rules are consistent with incentives for further investment in the infrastructure of the Internet. The Internet has been one of the greatest gifts our economy — and our society — has ever known. The FCC was chartered to promote competition, innovation, and investment in our networks. In service of that mission, there is no higher calling than protecting an open, accessible, and free Internet. I thank the Commissioners for having served this cause with distinction and integrity, and I respectfully ask them to adopt the policies I have outlined here, to preserve this technology’s promise for today, and future generations to come.

Nov 10

What Separates Internet Advocates?

J-LlorenzIn a week of political showdowns, it seems appropriate to reflect on the faceoff in the Internet advocacy world. On the morning of June 10, 1964, Senator Robert C. Byrd ended a 14 hour, 13 minute address. The arguments over the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had given Americans the example of the modern filibuster. Meaningful national policy is hardly made with ease, nor without due acrimony. In 1986, Ronald Reagan signed the forward-leaning Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1996, legalizing millions of immigrants in the process — after the Act had failed in conference committee just the year before, in 1985. We fight over the big issues. A truth emerges. Compromise follows the big arguments. Internet policy worked this way once upon a time.

In 1996, Congress codified principles for the then-nascient Internet in the Telecommunications Act of 1996, codifying several important ideas, including its recognition that after six decades, the Internet could not be regulated by the principles of the Telecommunications Act of 1934, which was intended for a national monopoly telephone service; that universal service would be an evolving concept, and that the evolution of the new Internet would take immense private capital to spread from coast to coast, and continue its evolution through innovation and investment. Today’s conversation about the Internet and how to regulate it has new challenges, a mighty helping of acrimony, and a new kind of populist zeal separating advocates and scholars in a way that only the 140 -character social media world can bring to life.

The modern Internet has challenges. But the most important ones aren’t at the center of the national conversation. Two decades into the Internet experiment, the infrastructure of today has sprouted through a trillion dollars in private capital. We’ve spread wire line and wireless Internet to meet exploding demand from coast to coast. Fiber experiments in the heartland have changed the conversation about fast and super-fast Internet even further.

Rural broadband remains a challenge in the most hard to connect areas. (That’s called our 5 percent problem). But Internet infrastructure is not the big challenge of the day.

The Internet’s most troubling problems have little to do with speed or availability. Its that 15 percent of Americans remain disconnected by choice. There is a 10 percent gap in Internet use by race. Only 2-3 percent of silicon valley tech jobs at companies like Google, Facebook and Amazon are inhabited by African Americans and Latinos.

Internet wealth is also too concentrated in a few urban places. Those least likely to be American Internet users tend to be poor, and less educated rural and urban dwellers. The non-users also tend to be older, and black or Latino. Rust belt cities and rural towns are behind in incubating digital startups to participate in the creation of new jobs where they are most needed. Inner cities are playing catch up, yet again.

The most troubling issue facing the Internet is the dire stratification of digital wealth — we billions of users and sharers, feeding a millionaire and billionaire economy of a concentrated, too homogenous group of entrepreneurs. It’s the new reality of the Uber and Airbnb economy — firms valued at more than $10 billion each, but small on jobs, while delivering record shareholder value, with little need for the kind of capital investments, nor number of employees of the businesses of yesteryear.

This stratification is the issue of the Internet age. And it can be fixed.

Closing the new digital divide — not just creating a new generation of Internet users, but inspiring diverse generations of makers and entrepreneurs, creating and innovating in dispersed SILICON EVERYWHERE communities from California, through the heartland, and to the east and south — will determine whether the digital economy harkens a new feudalism, or lives up to its potential as the democratizer of capital and opportunity.

But today’s arguments about the Internet don’t seem to focus on this issue. What advocates have been caught up in, is the question of regulation of the relationships between the largest of Internet businesses. Should Netflix be allowed to negotiate for a direct connection to a network? Should a network be allowed to partner with a novel health care startup to create a super-fast telehealth offering? These questions have inspired exhausting digital reams of argument, advocacy, and more curse words than ever filed in official FCC documents.

But what about our 15 percent problem? What about the digital divide? What about digital equity? And what will any new rules from the FCC mean for them? These issues seem too far away from the debate, and too unimportant to some advocates.

Acrimony and argument is expected in Washington. It is part of the process. But as the FCC looks to the future of Internet regulation, and Congress may be again pushed into the spotlight to update an Act that seems to have outlived its effectiveness, what will separate the voices on this matter will be the attention paid to the following:

What policies, have, and will actually help to address our real Internet problem, grow an innovative Internet for the future, and advance the goal of digital equity?

Jason Llorenz is an attorney and professor. He teaches at the Rutgers University School of Communication & Information. Follow on twitter: @llorenzesq

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