May 15, 2010 Meeting, Presentation: FCC and the Internet, Lon Hosford, Presenter

At the May meeting, it was pointed out that all photographs of club activities can be viewed by going to the club website. Click on Photos and that will direct you to the Picasso web site to view the photos. They are organized by year.

A club member brought his newest prize to the meeting, his Apple Ipad. It was new and he was still exploring its features. The Ipad connects wirelessly to the Internet, email, and can download music. Its battery can be charged and lasts for about 10 hours, but the battery cannot be replaced. It is advertised for sale at $499 for 32G of memory. It doesn’t have a camera or a DVD drive but can transfer data to the computer. You can use a flash drive with it. The manual is only online.

A member made a suggestion that everyone get their email through Gmail since it is free and you will not have to change your email provider if you switch network providers or the network companies merge. Gmail also offers a number of attractive features. Yahoo is very good, but it charges for certain features.

Most email providers will forward your email to another email provider. You can also get your own domain name and forward your email through that.

Presentation: FCC and the Internet, Lon Hosford, Presenter

The FCC is an independent government agency which is in charge of radio, TV, wire, satellite, and cable transmission. It handles license applications, complaints, regulation development, regulation implementation, and hearings, among other things. It is organized by many bureaus, such as the Enforcement, International, Media, Wireless, Public Safety and Homeland Security, and Wireline Competition. There are also ten different offices under the FCC.

The FCC is a government agency and, as we know, a government agency’s goal is to set the rules and regulations. At issue now is Net Neutrality. Net Neutrality is the idea that requires Internet providers like Comcast and AT&T to treat all content sites and platforms equally and not provide tier service or provide a different quality of service for a different fee.

Back in 2005, AT&T said they were going to charge differently for different levels of service. In 2007, there was a complaint against Comcast alleging that it was slowing down its upload speeds to manage the traffic on its network. Comcast said it was necessary in order to manage its network capacity. Comcast voluntarily stopped this practice, but sued the FCC.

Also at issue is that the FCC wants to switch broadband service, such as DSL, from Title I regulation, to Title II regulation under rules which were designed to govern dial-up services and regular home phones. The carriers feared that more FCC regulation would prevent them from dealing with growing demand, providing increased speed, change pricing and require them to share their network.

The FCC is tied into many of the major bills that are being passed by Congress. The FCC says it wants to move forward in the 21st century, in economic opportunity and providing new jobs. But this means more intrusion into one’s personal life, through healthcare bills, energy bills, public safety, homeland security, financial bills, education, job applications, public affairs, and so on. Everything you do will be reported on the Internet. It is very true that with all the new programs and the new FCC regulations, Big Brother will be watching YOU.

In looking into the latest information on Comcast’s case against the FCC’s plans for further regulation, it seems Comcast won its federal appeals case in April. The court ruled the FCC had overstepped when it cited Comcast in 2008 for slowing some customers’ Internet traffic. The federal court decision last month cast doubt that the FCC even had jurisdiction to regulate ISPs or the Internet’s content.

The following comment came from a review of the appeals court’s decision:

“In a huge win for the free market and limited government, a federal appeals court today put a halt to the Federal Communications Commission’s attempt to exert its authority over the Internet and its power play to regulate the companies who provide access to it.”

In June the HCC program will be E-Mail Tech., Offerings and Hazards. John Warsinski will be the presenter. Come to the meeting and hear his talk.