Can You Hear Me Now?

The Verizon guy in the TV commercials is so friendly and down to earth, we know that his and the company’s mission is to provide their customers with the best plans at the most reasonable costs. Just ask firefighters battling the blazes in California. Wireless communications are vital to provide and update information, manpower deployment and battle strategies. Imagine their surprise when service suddenly slowed to 1/200th of the normal speed. “It essentially rendered those very routine communications almost useless or completely ineffective,” said the Santa Clara County Fire Department captain whose team had been deployed to Lake and Mendocino counties in northern California.

Verizon Wireless had a simple explanation. The department had purchased an “unlimited” data plan, but when a certain usage threshold is reached, transmission speed slows precipitously. Verizon also had a simple solution: upgrade the plan at twice the cost.

Verizon said their practice is to remove data speed limits for emergency responders in emergency situations and they are “reviewing the situation” and “will fix any issues going forward.” They also said the speed restrictions had nothing to do with the Federal Communications Commission’s termination of net neutrality regulations that, among other things, had prevented Internet service providers from charging more for speeding up delivery of certain content. The three-Republican two-Democrat FCC, led by Trump appointee Ajit Pai, voted 3-2 to abolish the regulations.

Making America Great Again.

Requiescat in Pace Net Neutrality?

(The New Yorker)

The Federal Communications Commission has repealed the rules requiring Internet service providers to provide equal access to all web content, i.e. “net neutrality.”

A refresher from

“Net neutrality is the principle that internet service providers should give consumers equal access to all legal content and applications without favoring or blocking particular sources. The overall goal is to provide everyone with equal access to the internet. By promoting a free and equal internet, net neutrality ensures that an ISP is not dictating what kind of content the consumer — meaning you — is accessing online.”

Continue reading “Requiescat in Pace Net Neutrality?”

While We Are Distracted

Filled with outrage or scorn about the Bowling Green Massacre or the Nordstrom attack on Ivanka? While we’ve given our attention to these and other inanities, there’s serious stuff going on – very quietly. Here’s a couple:

  • Representative Lamar Smith, the Texas Republican who chairs the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, held a hearing titled “Making the E.P.A. Great Again.” Rep Smith’s plan to make the EPA great again is to replace their science advisory board with scientists employed by the industries it regulates.
  • The newly-appointed chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Ajit Pai, is wasting no time attacking net neutrality. Net neutrality requires Internet service providers to deliver consumers equal access to all legal content and applications without favoring or blocking particular sources. The Internet has become, in effect, a public utility. It would be like the electricity provider slowing down your service because they made a deal with certain brands of appliances and you don’t have that brand.

It’s what we don’t know that’s really going to hurt.