Tag Archives: internet

Consumers Stand to Pay More for Internet if FCC’s Rules Pass

take actionDo you want to pay more for your internet service? That is what will happen if the FCC’s proposed “Net Neutrality” rules pass. I put the words Net Neutrality in quotes, because the FCC’s plan isn’t the Net Neutrality we need or have been promised numerous times.

What’s Net Neutrality?

Net Neutrality – and the internet as we know it – protects consumers from ISPs slowing down, degrading, and even blocking online content and access. If there’s a service out there, and your internet provider provides a competing service, Net Neutrality protects us consumers from your internet provider slowing down, degrading, or even blocking that competing service. If you don’t think this matters, Comcast is currently in talks to buy Time Warner Cable, and expand their market share of broadband services further. Comcast also has video on demand services and owns NBC. Imagine Comcast now degrading Netflix or Amazon Prime to the point its unwatchable, just so you have to use their service. Speeds already are being played with by internet providers.

Think you can go elsewhere and this is what competition is for? Well, over 70% of all Americans have only one choice when it comes to internet service.

The idea of Net Neutrality is to keep the internet a free and open platform for innovation and expression.

The FCC’s rules lays out three things:

  1. That all ISPs must transparently disclose to their subscribers and users all relevant information as to the policies that govern their network;
  2. That no legal content may be blocked; and
  3. That ISPs may not act in a commercially unreasonable manner to harm the Internet, including favoring the traffic from an affiliated entity.

That’s all great, but the FCC is also giving permission for internet service providers to create fast and slow lanes of the internet. Instead of blocking or degrading like I described above, instead, ISPs will force content producers to pay up, or be relegated to the slow lane. Of course those ISPs who have their own content will make sure their offerings are always the best they can be. That’s a two-tiered internet, and those costs, will be shouldered and passed along to consumers. Be prepared to pay more for your internet services. Generally, the United States already pays more, for slower internet, than the rest of the world.

How will this impact the “geek” community? We’ll wind up paying more for streaming video, and see our download speeds decreased. Our video game experience will lag, unless someone pays up. Basically, things will get slower, and unusable. It’s not just us consumers who should care about this. Content providers need to stand up too, or they’ll be extorted forced asked to pay to deliver their content at reasonable speeds.

So what can we do? We’ve stopped legislation before when the “internet” has come together. Speak out now through this action that the Entertainment Consumers Association has put together. You’ll be able to let your members of Congress, the President, and the FCC know how you stand on the issue.

If this passes, the definition of an “open internet” is, the more you pay up, the more open it can get. It will be a death knell for Net Neutrality, online innovation, and our experience as consumers.

Disclosure: I consult for the Entertainment Consumers Association but was not paid for this post

Marvel Online as a Platform

Marvel comics has been a leader when it comes to new media and having an online presence.  In December we’ll be giving a full breakdown grading each publisher in their online operations, a new yearly tradition.  However, we’ve decided to spotlight something a little early, Marvel Comics’ Retailer Resource Center.

Marvel is pleased to announce that retailers are now able to participate in the MARVEL RETAILER RESOURCE CENTER- an invaluable tool to help retailers make use of all of the information, artwork, and previews that is at their disposal. This innovative tool offers tremendous benefits to local retailers and fans. The MARVEL RETAILER RESOURCE CENTER enables retailers to create websites for their stores with up-to-the-minute news, artwork, catalog listings and changes, as well as maps and local happenings. Ask your retailer if they have signed up for the MARVEL RETAILER RESOURCE CENTER and tell them Marvel sent you!

The service is a pay service that allows comic book retailers create websites with some content provided by Marvel.  These websites include features of the store’s choosing, creating a platform for an easy web presence.

These websites are equipped with Google Maps, store images, events calendars, complete Marvel product listings (updating by Marvel, not the retailer, saving hours of labor each week) product listings for all other companies,” David Gabriel said. “Plus, we provide printable on-sale lists of all our comics and collections, so a store’s customers can click a button and print out a checklist of all the books on sale that week.”

The resource center helps stores with early previews to help better manage their orders, promotional tools such as flyers and early art, and an easier way to interact with Marvel staff.  Will retailers pay Marvel for a website, when there are much cheaper and more flex able options available?

Most retailers we’ve spoken to do not want to pay the monthly fee,” Gabriel explained. “However, when we did the individual math and consider the cost to maintain and create a website, add in the First Looks program that most retailers were a part of and then throw in the slew of free books, exclusive variants and special members only sales, the retailers that participate are definitely coming out ahead. I liken this to paying your monthly basic cable bill and then being reimbursed for watching certain programs each month.

Retailers can check out the service and a video tutorial at http://www.marvelretailers.com/.  While we here at Graphic Policy applaud Marvel for providing this platform we have to wonder why Diamond Distributors hasn’t ventured into this territory?  Stay tuned for a further article about the platform Diamond should provide to their clients and the comic book industry.

NOI – The Best Thing About Superheroes

I’ve been a supporter of NOI and have written earlier about their very cool Bootcamp.  Here’s the email they sent out on the subject.

Dear Brett,

Late Sunday night, eight superheroes announced their candidacy for DC Mayor.

The brains behind these campaigns are New Organizing Institute’s own 2009 BootCampers – over 50 of the nation’s best new organizers are gathering in DC to learn how to become technologically-enabled organizers. The campaign teams of Wonder Woman, Spider-Man, The Atom, The Green Lantern, Batwoman, Superman, Cyborg, and Batgirl have built websites, designed and targeted their message plans and are now building their lists of supporters via email, online advertising and blogger outreach.

Find your favorite Superhero for DC Mayor here!

We don’t want you miss out on the fun – take a minute to visit their websites, join their email lists, and support the work of the next generation of progressive online organizers as they run an intense mayoral race.  The best part of this? You get to vote – and help BootCampers reserve bragging rights for years to come.

Online voting begins at 7am EST this Friday – bookmark www.neworganizing.com/superherovote to cast your vote when the polls open.

Thank you for supporting the next generation of progressive organizers!

Judith, Heather, Zack, Anne Marie, Lola, Joy, Shayne, Nick, Kyra, Olivia, Ethan, James and Santiago

P.S. Learn more about the BootCampers here, and find out how you can hire them here.

Green Lantern for Mayor!?

The New Organizing Institute does a boot camp to train the next generation of organizers every year.  This year that training included mocking up websites for possible DC (city not the comic company) mayoral candidates.  It just so happened  these candidates can be found in the pages at your local comic book store.  Candidates include, Cyborg, Superman, Atom, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Spider-man, Batgirl, and Batwoman.

NOI “runs the only progressive advocacy and campaign training program focused on cutting-edge online organizing techniques (e.g. writing effective emails, engaging bloggers, leveraging social networks, utilizing video), political technology (e.g. using data effectively, progressive technology infrastructure), and the intersection with field and management of these areas of new organizing.”

Looks like you’ll be able to vote for your candidate this Friday, July 10 starting at 7am.