Tag Archives: consumer issues

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Who Are the FCC Commissioners and Where Do They Side on Net Neutrality?

The war over how to regulate the internet has a key problem: the process for creating regulation is so complex that even vehement supporters and opponents of Net Neutrality and other key issues often have little knowledge of where this regulation actually comes from, or how it’s created. Interestingly, the group that’s responsible for managing these regulations, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), is quite small. Just five commissioners cast votes on everything from Next Gen TV standards to wireless spectrum allocation. These five commissioners have a huge impact on the lives of every American who uses the Internet — which is to say, virtually all of us, with the exception of a few hermits. In this breakdown, we’re going to… Continue reading →

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Why Is the American Internet Empire Crumbling?

The colossal labyrinth of pulses and wires we refer to as “the Internet” is sort of like the jumble of wires and plugs behind your uncle’s VCR. Sure, it works — but it’s largely improvised, and for the love of God don’t touch anything. Much like that old VCR, America’s network infrastructure is often a bit dated in terms of infrastructure. This has become increasingly clear in the past year as policy changes around Net Neutrality and regulatory standards have been riling up consumers, Internet providers, and Internet access advocacy groups alike. Overall, one thing is clear; the US has some issues when it comes to the modern innovation it helped give birth to. The heart of the trouble goes… Continue reading →

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How to Determine Which Internet Plan Is Right for You

Getting a broadband connection to your house can be a frustrating process. Choosing an Internet plan used to be a simple question of comparing prices and speeds. But these days, the quickly-changing tech marketplace has introduced a number of other factors consumers need to be aware of before they sign on the dotted line. For starters, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) recently began implementing data caps (limits to the amount of data you can use in a month), which can have a big effect on your monthly bill if you go over. At the same time, the growing popularity of high-definition video streaming via services like Netflix is poised to eat up data like never before — meaning that your bandwidth… Continue reading →

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Cable, Satellite, IPTV & OTT Streaming: What’s the Difference?

Understanding the difference between Cable TV, Sattelite TV, IPTV, and OTT (over-the-top) streaming services can be tricky — particularly as content providers scramble to offer bundled services that blur the line between Internet and broadcast media. While cable subscription numbers have been tailing off in favor of alternatives like Netflix and Hulu, the video-consumption industry on the whole has only grown.  [1] There are more ways to tune into our favorite shows than ever before. More choices translate to more power for consumers, but only if you take a moment to understand the differences between the various types of TV connection available on the market today. Our goal in this post is to walk you through the basics of each “flavor”… Continue reading →

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Where the 2016 Candidates Stand on Broadband, Net Neutrality, and Internet Issues

Politicians have a well-earned reputation for misunderstanding the Internet. …So it’s no surprise that candidate stances on tech issues are all over the map as we approach the 2016 presidential election. From Clinton’s email server scandal[1] to Trump’s proposal of “closing that Internet up” to fight ISIS[2], Internet users have plenty of reason to be concerned about how either candidate might alter the landscape of “InternetLand” if they take office. There’s a lot more than our YouTube addiction at stake for the American public: Net Neutrality, municipal broadband, and data privacy are all on the chopping block. Let’s take a close look at where the candidates stand on Internet and broadband issues. I’ll start with a brief overview of each… Continue reading →

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How to Optimize your Home Network for Faster Speeds

It’s frustrating to run a speed test and discover that you’re only getting half the Wi-Fi speeds advertised for your broadband plan. Luckily, optimizing your Wi-Fi network for faster speeds isn’t rocket science. All it takes is a basic understanding of how your network operates. In most cases, you can boost your speeds significantly for little or no extra money. This post will break down the basics of how your Wi-Fi network operates and walk through some steps you can take to boost your Internet speeds. Home Network 101 Here are the three main pieces of hardware you need to understand: Modem: The “gatekeeper” between your ISP and your home network, connects to cable or DSL wall outlet. Router: The… Continue reading →

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Renting vs Buying a Modem: What’s Best for Your Budget

If you have broadband, you’re probably renting a modem or modem/router combo from your provider. But is the money worth the convenience? With rental fees from big ISPs like Comcast and Time Warner increasing by as much as 33% in the past year, many consumers are foregoing the monthly fee and buying their own modems. A modem that costs $150 pays for itself in a little over a year. After that, you stand to save $8–$10 per month for as long as the modem keeps ticking. [1] …The catch is that buying a modem isn’t always the best decision. Depending on your situation, installing and maintaining your own modem might be more expensive and time-consuming than it’s worth. In this… Continue reading →

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How to Choose Between Internet Service Providers

Consumer satisfaction with the broadband industry hit a seven-year low last year [1], leaving Internet users more confused than ever about how to choose an Internet Service Provider (ISP). Where do you even start? What are you comparing when you compare ISPs, and how do you decide which one is right for your needs? While 25 percent of US households still only have access to one provider [2], the rest of us have a laundry list of factors and features to consider before signing on the dotted line. Choice is a good thing, but you have to understand what you’re buying in order to get the best deal. Our goal in this post is to walk you through everything you… Continue reading →

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13 Creative Ways to save Money on Your Internet Bill

My neighbor and I have the same broadband plan. Same speeds, same caps, same disgruntled customer service reps. The only difference is that he pays $86 per month for it — while I only pay $47. Why am I paying half the price for the same service? In my case, it was just a question of negotiating with my provider — but there are plenty of other ways to cut your broadband bill. Depending on your situation, some of the strategies below could save you even more. Let’s start with the no-brainers then move on to more “creative” ideas. I guarantee some of them will be new to you. PS: if you find this list useful, send it to a… Continue reading →

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Apartment landlords are holding your Internet hostage.

Steep Internet bill and no choice? If you live in an apartment building, the landlord might be profiting from your plight. Exclusive broadband agreements between apartment building owners and broadband providers are common, leaving renters with no choice but to pay inflated costs for sub-par service — and rewarding landlords for keeping it that way. The existence of these exclusive arrangements is surprising for a simple reason: they were outlawed eight years ago[1]. So how are they getting away with it? Why are landlords getting such a big cut? And most importantly, what can renters do about it? How landlords get their cut of your broadband bill Before the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) outlawed them in 2008, revenue shares and… Continue reading →