Tag Archives: Net Neutrality

Fiber Optic Internet At Last

When I first heard that high-speed fiber optic internet was to be available for a good price to residents in south Minneapolis, I was excited and intrigued. When I found out that the company offering this service was neither Comcast nor CenturyLink, I was completely on board.

Last summer I learned that US Internet was installing optical fiber into the boulevards of streets very near near us, but there were no short-term plans for installation on our street. Over the winter months I checked the status of installation schedules for this summer, but found no information for Wentworth Avenue. Today’s news that US Internet is expanding fiber optic internet service in south Minneapolis made my day. I immediately checked the schedules on the US Internet site and discovered our street will have service sometime this summer.

What does this mean? Faster service for much lower cost. Though our household could stick with the same speed as we have now for less than half the price, we will upgrade to 100 Mbps upload and download speeds and pay $25 less per month than our slower service with Comcast. This chart from the US Internet website shows the savings.

Internet Fiber

In addition to the cost savings, I will be thrilled to break my association with a company that that has a penchant to reduce download speeds of content providers in order to extract extra fees as ransom.

A few months ago CenturyLink also announced a plan to install fiber optic internet in Minneapolis, but the 1 gigabit speed will be $109/month compared to US Internet’s $65/month.

What about customer service?

In Minneapolis, we’re familiar with the dismal customer service of our internet providers, including USI Wireless, which has a contract with the city of Minneapolis to provide residents with wireless internet for $19.95 a month.

USI Wireless is a subsidiary of US Internet. Having read the reviews for the wireless effort, my fingers are crossed for the fiber optics effort. Thus far, as I have been careful to note which service and which “company” is being reviewed, I have found only accolades.

Our household will be signed up for US Internet’s fiber optics internet service as soon as it’s available on our block. And, whatever your preference for ISP, maybe US Internet’s pricing structure will help bring internet costs down for everyone.

 

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Neutral Goes With Everything…

You can find just about anything online largely because of Net Neutrality. For now, all data is essentially equal online. This reality affords users the broadest spectrum of choice. There is a lot of discussion about this right now given the recent push by the FCC to change the rules. A recent article from Reuters describes it this way:

 “Consumer advocates worry that “fast lanes” for content companies willing to pay up would leave startups and others behind. They call on the FCC to reclassify Internet providers as utilities, like telephone companies, rather than the less-regulated information services they are now.

More than 100 technology companies including Google Inc. and Facebook Inc. have warned that Wheeler’s [FCC Chair] proposal poses “a grave threat to the Internet.” Democratic lawmakers, venture capitalists and a group of musicians and artists expressed similar worries.”

 You want as many choices as possible in nearly every aspect of life, especially online. Imagine though, that corporations could purchase their way to the head of the line, or even remove their competitors from your equation. Corporations could fundamentally change the experience that you have online as Consumer, Commentator, Contributor, or Content Curator.

I think an interesting comparison might be the recent Supreme Court decision to lift the restrictions on campaign contributions. We cannot fully anticipate the impact of the Supreme Court Decision, and the issue of Net Neutrality poses some similar kinds of questions; once again will large well-funded entities make choices for those with less? Do you trust the regulation of the government, or the goodwill of corporations?

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This is an issue to pay close attention to.

Learn more about how a potential threat to Net Neutrality might affect the online communities that you value.