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Found 8 results

  1. It’s been a rough few days for people looking for alternatives to their current internet providers. Last week, the Federal Communications Commission issued a report documenting what many of you already know: You don’t have much choice when it comes to broadband. In fact, most of you have only one or no companies selling high-speed internet. Then on Wednesday, a court ruling held the FCC can’t override state laws restricting cities and towns from launching their own broadband services to increase their residents’ provider options. Neither development should have been that much of a surprise. View the full article
  2. Freedom of Expression on the Internet is taken for granted by many of us. Around the world, headlines are heralding the fact that the UN has passed a resolution which reaffirms Internet Access as a human right and condemns any country which blocks certain parts of the Internet for any reason. The non-binding resolution reaffirms each country’s commitment to “Address security concerns on the Internet in accordance with their obligations to protect freedom of expression, privacy and other human rights online.” While over 70 countries supported this resolution on the “promotion, protection, and enjoyment of human rights on the Internet,” it is important to note the 17 countries that campaigned for an amendment that would remove language protecting the freedom of expression. The 17 countries are: Bangladesh, Bolivia, Burundi, China, Cuba, Republic of Congo, Ecuador, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, Venezuela, and Vietnam. View the full article
  3. People may joke that others spend too much time on the internet, but this intricate series of tubes has become an important part of everyday life—so much so that it’s become a human rights violation to take it away. That’s according to the United Nations Human Rights Council, which passed a non-binding resolution in June that condemns countries that intentionally take away or disrupt its citizens’ internet access. The resolution was passed last Friday, but was opposed by countries including Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, and India. The issue was with the passage that “condemns unequivocally measures to intentionally prevent or disrupt access to our dissemination of information online.”More than 70 states supported the resolutions, according to a statement released by Article 19, a British organization that works to promote freedom of expression and information. Thomas Hughes, the executive director of Article 19, wrote: View the full article
  4. I got whiplash this afternoon doing a double-take on the improbable announcement that Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker has seen fit to appoint David Cohen, senior vice president and chief lobbyist at Comcast, to the first-ever Digital Economy Board of Advisors, which counts among its goals protecting a free and open Internet. He will be joined by AT&T’s chief lobbyist, the omnipresent Mr. James Cicconi. Neither has much patience for Net Neutrality. Cicconi and Cohen have both lobbied Congress and regulators to keep Comcast and AT&T free from regulation and oversight, even as Comcast imposes usage-billing and data caps on a growing number of its customers, while exempting its own streaming video content from those caps. For its part, AT&T is exploring “zero rating” preferred content partners to escape the wrath of its own wireless data limits and advocates against community broadband competition. View the full article
  5. Facebook's Internet.org project, which offers people from developing countries free mobile access to selected websites, has been pitched as a philanthropic initiative to connect two thirds of the world who don’t yet have Internet access. We completely agree that the global digital divide should be closed. However, we question whether this is the right way to do it. As we and others have noted, there's a real risk that the few websites that Facebook and its partners select for Internet.org (including, of course, Facebook itself) could end up becoming a ghetto for poor users instead of a stepping stone to the larger Internet. Mark Zuckerberg's announcement of the expansion of the Internet.org platform earlier this month was aimed to address some of these criticisms. In a nutshell, the changes would allow any website operator to submit their site for inclusion in Internet.org, provided that it meets the program's guidelines. Those guidelines are neutral as to the subject matter of the site, but do impose certain technical limitations intended to ensure that sites do not overly burden the carrier's network, and that they will work on both inexpensive feature phones and modern smartphones. View the full article
  6. Facebook's been taking a lot of heat lately for failing to understand (or pretending to fail to understand) how its Internet.org initiative spells trouble for net neutrality. As noted previously, Facebook's vision has been to deploy a "free" walled-garden service like AOL to developing nations. Critics have been dropping out of Internet.org, stating they don't like Facebook picking which companies get included in the walled garden. Things have gotten particularly heated in India, where neutrality advocates have made it very clear they think Facebook's vision hurts the open Internet long term. Zuckerberg's response so far? You're hurting the poor if you don't like the way we're doing things, because a walled garden is better than no Internet at all. Of course that's a false choice: Facebook could offer subsidized access to the real Internet, it just wouldn't get pole position in delivering ads to billions of new users in dozens of developing nations. It's a mammoth advertising play dressed up as utterly-selfless altruism, with a dash of indignant at suggestions there's a better way. View the full article
  7. It may not come as much of a surprise, but the major US telecom companies have significantly outspent supporters of net neutrality when it comes to lobbying on Capitol Hill. And they seem far more intent on getting their way. Between 2005 and 2013, Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast all mentioned the issue of net neutrality in more lobbying reports than any pro-neutrality companies. The trend is particularly unsettling as debate around net neutrality and the "open internet" rages on during the FCC's comment period on Chairman Tom Wheeler's latest proposal. But the biggest surprise may be the top spender on the list in support of net neutrality. Despite Google having the biggest tech lobby in Washington aside from the big internet service providers, AOL — the company best known for giving the world dial-up internet in the '90s and being one of the country's largest ISPs — has outspent Google on net neutrality issues. That's one of the main takeaways from data collected by Sunlight Foundation and reported on by The Daily Dot. View the full article
  8. A new study confirms what you might have expected: US customers are getting hosed when it comes to broadband speeds and prices. The annoying trend holds true in both wired and wireless service. In the Cost of Connectivity 2013 report being released today by the New America Foundation's Open Technology Institute, researchers note that "in larger US cities, we continue to observe higher prices for slower speeds… In the US for example, the best deal for a 150Mbps home broadband connection from cable and phone companies is $130/month, offered by Verizon FiOS in limited parts of New York City. By contrast, the international cities we surveyed offer comparable speeds for $77 or less per month, with most coming in at about $50/month. When it comes to mobile broadband, the cheapest price for around 2GB of data in the US ($30/month from T-Mobile) is twice as much as what users in London pay ($15/month from T-Mobile). It costs more to purchase 2GB of data in a US city than it does in any of the cities surveyed in Europe." The analysis compares costs across countries by using purchasing power parity exchange rates. View the full article
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