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Beachcomber: Looking Back on 2017

  • By David Barron

Typically, in my last Beachcomber column of the year, I like to leave you with something funny and happy. This year has been a great year in many ways, but the sad part outweighs the good. I won’t get into the personal aspects, but only write about the public things that impact all of us.

I think back when cable television was promoted as commercial free television. Well we all know that was an outright lie. Today, we pay a lot of money for cable TV and Internet service.
It is now going to get worse with the removal of Net Neutrality. Every time you click a link, every time you choose to stream a video, you’re going to pay for it. Probably every time you connect with Facebook, Twitter or email, it may cost you.

If you shop through the Internet, it may cost you to surf the Internet or shop at
Attorney General Becerra issues the following statement: "The FCC decided that consumers do not deserve free, open, and equal access to the Internet. It decided to ignore the millions of Americans who voiced their strong support for our existing net neutrality rules.
“Here in California – a state that is home to countless start-ups and technology giants alike – we know that a handful of powerful companies should not dictate the sources for the information we seek or the speed at which our websites load," added Attorney General Becerra. "We remain committed to ensuring that our Internet can continue to represent freedom and opportunity, innovation and fairness.”
What is “net neutrality.”? Here’s Google’s basic definition.
“Net Neutrality is the principle that Internet service providers should enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source, and without favoring or blocking particular products or websites.”
Proponents argue that heavy users of such things like videos or Youtube should pay more. The grandma who uses email to communicate should pay only for the service she receives, not for those that stream a lot.
But can you trust Internet service providers to be fair in their services? Not until rates of usage are set in concrete can we allow Internet service providers to be “fair.”
Fighting back is difficult, but we as consumers have some actions we can take. First of all, contact your federal and state legislators and fight the removal of “net neutrality.” If you do not now what it means, please Google it now!
Our best tool is to boycott some of the services and websites.
Instead of sending an email, write a letter or make a phone call. Instead of emailing a document, send it by Postal mail
Use your landline, instead of your cell phone.
You can buy some “rabbit ears” and set up an analog TV and watch television for free. Cable TV or Satellite TV are not the only source of news and information. Instead of watching movies on Internet services, rent, buy or borrow them and play DVDs, or even VHS on your home television recorder.
Before you laugh at me, just check your cable and Internet phone bill. Many of us probably never notice the bill because they automatically deducted it from your bank account or a credit card. You can just imagine what your bill will amount to in the future.
Then compare your bill with someone who has a landline phone.

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