Today Is The Day of Action to Help Save Net Neutrality


Today is the day MANY websites across the internet including Geek Alabama will participate in the Day of Action to Save Net Neutrality.  Yes, there have been protests before, but this one is the most serious protest yet as the FCC will vote on removing Net Neutrality rules in only a few days!

“Net Neutrality” is the simple but very powerful principle that all Internet traffic should be treated equally. Whether you’re reading a blog post on Geek Alabama, streaming Game of Thrones on HBO GO, or browsing handcrafted tea cozies on Etsy, your Internet service provider delivers the Internet to you at the same speed, without blocking, throttling, or charging extra tolls based on the content you’re viewing.

Net Neutrality gives all online businesses, large and small, a chance to reach customers and succeed. It also protects important free speech rights online by prohibiting Internet providers from slowing or blocking sites or messages they don’t agree with.  Net Neutrality means an Internet where businesses, products, and ideas thrive or fail based on their own merit — not on whether they have a preferred deal in place with a broadband service provider.

Internet providers like Comcast & Verizon should not control what we see and do online. In 2015, startups, Internet freedom groups, and 3.7 million commenters won strong Net Neutrality rules from the US Federal Communication Commission (FCC). The rules prohibit Internet providers from blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization—”fast lanes” for sites that pay, and slow lanes for everyone else.

Nearly everyone who understands and depends on the Internet supports Net Neutrality, whether they’re startup founders, activists, gamers, politicians, investors, comedians, YouTube stars, or typical Internet users who just want their Internet to work as advertised—regardless of their political party.  Want to learn why Net Neutrality is that important, watch these two videos below from Last Week Tonight with John Oliver where he explains in great and funny details why Net Neutrality is that important!

Net Neutrality says we get the *entire* web without interference – no gatekeepers, no tollbooths, no slowlanes.  You don’t like sitting behind a slow poke on the highway who won’t move over.  Without Net Neutrality, you can expect to sit behind the digital slowpoke on the internet highway.  This is why it is considered the First Amendment of the Internet.  It protects our free speech in the digital age.  Without strong protections, Cable and phone companies like Comcast, Charter, AT&T, and Cable One would be able to:

  • Slow video streaming sites, causing your videos start and stop unexpectedly.
  • Add you new fees to your Internet bill. Imagine paying extra for YouTube!
  • Censor videos or content they don’t agree with, like political blogs.
  • Throttle any new sites or apps they don’t own or invest in.
  • Make your connection painfully slow, and charge you more to make it work again.
  • Force streaming sites like Spotify into a slow lane, causing them to buffer constantly.
  • Slow online gaming. Call of Duty would lag and glitch without paying more to your ISP.
  • Charge big sites special “prioritization fees” and slow down everyone else.
  • Take you out of the driver’s seat, and control what you see and hear online.
  • Make the Internet look a lot more like cable TV.
  • And, worst of all, become the first gatekeepers of the Internet in US history.

Net Neutrality is not a partisan issue.  Regardless of your political views are or who you voted for, everyone who knows what Net Neutrality is supports it.  And poll after poll confirms this across party lines.  Without Net Neutrality, the government will give cable and phone companies free rein to shake down Internet users and websites for more money. And the ripple effects will be felt for years.  An entire generation of innovators have built their careers on the open web. With Net Neutrality in place, you just need a good idea and a decent connection to reach millions.

Without Net Neutrality, the Internet would look a lot more like cable TV, where the content you see is what your cable provider is paid to put in front of you.  We all know how much we hate dealing with the cable company over cable TV, now imagine hating your cable or telecom company over horrible internet speeds.  This could become an reality if the Net Neutrality rules go away.

Cable and telecom companies are lobbying the FCC and Congress to end Net Neutrality. Why? It’s simple: if they win the power to slow sites down, they can bully any site into paying millions to escape the “slow lane.”  This would amount to a tax on every sector of the American economy.  Every site would cost more, since they’d all have to pay big cable. Worse, it would extinguish the startups and independent voices who can’t afford to pay. If we lose Net Neutrality, the Internet will never be the same.

To help fight these greedy idiots who wants to control the internet and make it worse forever, today (July 12) is an Internet-wide day of action in support of Net Neutrality.  Many websites from Netflix, Reddit, Twitter, Etsy, Kickstarter, Automattic, Vimeo, Thinkgeek, and many more sites are participating in this Day of Action to Save Net Neutrality.  If you share our love of the free and open Internet and want to join the fight to preserve it, please join in!  And it’s very simple to add your voice in support of Net Neutrality!

Go to https://www.battleforthenet.com/#bftn-action-form and fill out a simple form that will send an letter to the FCC and your local Congressman.  You can even customize your letter and say whatever you want!

You can also submit your own letter to the FCC website which will be public record.  Go to https://www.fcc.gov/ecfs/search/proceedings?q=name:((17-108)) and click on new filing on top to submit your letter on supporting Net Neutrality!

The FCC will decide the fate of Net Neutrality in only a few days!  We the internet can have a say on helping to stop the stupid removal of these rules.  Even if the FCC decides to strip Net Neutrality, there will be a LONG court fight ahead to keep these vital rules.

Here is the letter I have submitted to the FCC:

I am writing to the FCC to express my concerns about Net Neutrality. Let’s get straight to the point, allowing the internet providers with ways to charge websites to allow a so called “fast lane” will be very bad for consumers, businesses, and everyday people. You know what is going to happen if Net Neutrality is taken away? Our internet will become like cable, and we will have to pay money to access news sites. Pay more money to access our social media sites. Pay even more money to access our video sites, and so on.

The internet providers are only looking for ways to make even more money and become greedier, like what they have done with cable. Just like in cable TV, an internet provider could get into a contract dispute with a website like Facebook or Twitter, and if a deal is not reached, the internet provider can block the site. And in many communities, you only have one choice for an internet provider, so if Facebook or Twitter is blocked, you are out of luck!

I run a popular website in the south called Geek Alabama, which is run off of WordPress. If Net Neutrality is taken away, I do not have the money to pay the internet providers to get on a “fast lane.” And many blogs, websites, and small businesses don’t have the funds either. I am asking you keep and continue to re-classify the internet providers as a “public utility” and keep the internet open, free, and fast for everybody, no matter how much money each person has. America needs to get back to their helping others, small business roots, and quit catering to very large companies who only cares about making a buck. Thank you for reading!

-Nathan Young
GeekAlabama.com

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The Southern Geek Episode 24: Why Cable TV Is Going The Way Of The Dinosaur


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Episode 24 of The Southern Geek is here!  And this episode, I talk about why Cable TV is dying out.  From the many people who are cord cutting, I talk about what Cable TV can do to save some money and help to lower those outrageous cable bills, enjoy!

Hey Internet, Congrats On Hopefully Keeping Net Neutrality


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There has been a lot of debate over the whole Net Neutrality thing.  Mostly everyone on the internet, including me, wants the internet to remain free.  And not include so called “fast lanes” where certain websites pay more to make sure they get their content delivered via higher speeds.  And for the websites who can’t pay, they would be slowed down.  Now, it looks like the FCC is about to act, and their proposed rules are making many on the internet happy, including me!

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler wrote an Op-Ed for Wired, and after more than four million people submitted comments to the FCC over proposed Net Neutrality rules, and I did my part, the FCC is ready to propose some very tough rules to the internet providers.  The proposed rules would place internet providers under a stricter regulatory regime, and consumers would be ensured an open Internet. Also, broadband providers would be banned from blocking content or creating fast lanes for web services that can pay for preferential treatment into American homes.

Also, the new rules would apply to cable and wireless providers.  The rules would also make speeding up or slowing down web traffic illegal.  And it would ban the blocking of web traffic outright.  The FCC will vote on these new rules on February 26th, and it will most likely pass.  The internet and wireless providers would be placed under a modified Title II (Public Utility) and what I also like about the plans is the FCC would enforce consumer privacy rules; take funds from Internet providers to help subsidize services for rural Americans, and make sure other services can build new broadband pipes more easily without a cable company monopoly blocking things.

Victory, not so fast!  For starters, some Republicans are calling the new rules “Obamacare for the internet.”  And some cable companies are threatening to take legal action if these new rules are passed and approved.  The cable companies say the new rules will mean the internet can not thrive and will slow down growth, that’s not true!  The cable companies just want to be greedy!  When John Oliver did his piece about Net Neutrality last year, it got people thinking that the internet was in trouble, and action was taken!

Now, Congress is proposing their own set of Net Neutrality rules that would ban internet providers from having “fast lanes” and “slow lanes.”  But the kicker, the bill would also forbid the FCC from any further rulemaking in this area.  And if something new popped up in this ever changing internet world, the FCC could do nothing about it!  I’m sorry Republican led Congress, over 80% of Republicans say the end of Net Neutrality threatens the future of the internet and must be protected.  You know the cable companies will do anything possible to get back those “fast lanes.”  So the FCC needs to have the power to tell the internet providers that they can’t discriminate on certain websites.

So to everyone on the internet, listen up!  You need to keep up with these new Net Neutrality rules!  You need to make sure no company or individual changes a part of these new rules.  You need to make sure that the bill in Congress does not change in the favor of the cable companies.  And, you need to make sure any potential lawsuits don’t force the end of Net Neutrality.  You can be sure the cable companies and internet providers are going to spend a lot of money fighting these new rules.  Let’s make sure they hear us loud and clear!  A free and open internet is good for everybody!

Read the proposed rules from the FCC by going to:  http://www.fcc.gov/document/chairman-wheeler-proposes-new-rules-protecting-open-internet

Google Fiber, Coming Soon To Atlanta And Nashville


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If you are a Google nut, you are very excited about this news!  Google announced that they are bringing their Google Fiber service to Atlanta, Nashville, Charlotte, and Raleigh-Durham.  In Atlanta, areas like Smyrna, Sandy Springs, Brookhaven, Decatur, Hapeville, College Park, East Point, and Avondale Estates will be a part of the action.  In Nashville, the entire city will benefit, and will join Chattanooga in Tennessee who has their own super fast fiber internet service.  So, what can you expect with service from Google Fiber?

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You will get one gigabit internet service, with speeds up to 100 times faster than today’s basic broadband.  Also, you can also get internet TV service with 150 channels.  Internet and TV would cost around $130 a month, with internet only costing around $70 a month.  This is exciting news, and with the already good fiber networks in places like Chattanooga, the south is rapidly becoming one of the fastest internet connected regions in the Untied States and the world.  But, what about Alabama?

Yes, places like Opelika have fiber internet, but if the state is going to grow, bigger places like Birmingham and Huntsville will need to get fiber internet service.  Let’s hope Google will expand into these places soon.  For the new places like Atlanta and Nashville, it will take a year or two to get Google Fiber installed, but be prepared for some great internet speeds!

Why Internet Slowdown Day Is Important For The Future Of The Internet


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Today is Internet Slowdown Day, and since Geek Alabama focuses on more techy and geeky things, we are participating in this special day along with many other websites!  Sorry for the slowdown folks, but if the cable companies get their way, we will be living in the past and be like it’s 1995, when we had dial up.

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Sites like Geek Alabama have put up a loading symbol.  And there is a message asking people to contact the FCC and Congress to make sure “fast lanes” never see the light of day and Net Neutrality stays intact.  The FCC will begin finalizing its net neutrality proposal September 15 when it officially closes public comments on the issue. The FCC has received a massive number of comments on the proposal and it even crashed their website.  Here is my comment on the Net Neutrality proposal I submitted to the FCC.

I am writing to the FCC to express my concerns about Net Neutrality. Let’s get straight to the point, allowing the internet providers with ways to charge websites to allow a so called “fast lane” will be very bad for consumers, businesses, and everyday people. You know what is going to happen if Net Neutrality is taken away? Our internet will become like cable, and we will have to pay money to access news sites. Pay more money to access our social media sites. Pay even more money to access our video sites, and so on.

The internet providers are only looking for ways to make even more money and become greedier, like what they have done with cable. Just like in cable TV, an internet provider could get into a contract dispute with a website like Facebook or Twitter, and if a deal is not reached, the internet provider can block the site. And in many communities, you only have one choice for an internet provider, so if Facebook or Twitter is blocked, you are out of luck!

I run a popular website in the south called Geek Alabama, which is run off of WordPress. If Net Neutrality is taken away, I do not have the money to pay the internet providers to get on a “fast lane.” And many blogs, websites, and small businesses don’t have the funds either. I am asking you to re-classify the internet providers as a “public utility” and keep the internet open, free, and fast for everybody, no matter how much money each person has. America needs to get back to their helping others, small business roots, and quit catering to very large companies who only cares about making a buck. Thank you for reading!

As of right now, the new FCC rules would allow broadband companies to make websites and services pay extra for faster, more reliable access. Those that don’t pay for the faster access could lose traffic and a competitive edge from being unable to keep up.  This means sites like Geek Alabama and other smaller websites would lose readers.  And a “fast lane” would stifle innovation and free speech online.  Which is something sites like Google, Apple, and other techy sites are all against.

Here is what Google had to say about Internet Slowdown Day.  The Internet was designed to empower people. To get online, you need to use an Internet access provider. But once you’re online, you decide what to do and where to go. Anyone, anywhere can share their opinions freely — and any entrepreneur, big or small, can build, launch and innovate without having to get permission first.

We believe that consumers should continue to enjoy open on-ramps to the Internet. That means no Internet access provider should block or degrade Internet traffic, nor should they sell “fast lanes” that prioritize particular Internet services over others. These rules should apply regardless of whether you’re accessing the Internet using a cable connection, a wireless service, or any other technology.

Cable companies should not be allowed to set up toll booths and require sites to pay extra to be faster.  The end of net neutrality is just a way for cable companies to earn more revenue from people who are cutting cable (cord cutters), and streaming everything on the internet.  Hey cable companies, want to get more people to subscribe to cable again, allow people to choose the channels they want to purchase and watch!  This won’t happen anytime soon.

The internet should remain open and free!  Sites who can not pay to be on a “fast lane” would be buffered to death.  Even if someone has a great idea, the internet would be too slow to execute it.  And cable and internet providers would start nickel and diming everyone who wanted internet excess.   We do not want the internet to end up like cable TV today.

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There is something you can do to help stop the end of net neutrality and the start of “fast lanes.”  Go to https://www.battleforthenet.com/ to learn more and to contact your Congressman.  If the cable companies win, the internet dies!  To learn more about this issue, watch this video from Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, he nailed it!