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5 things to know about 'net neutrality' |
BY ANNE FLAHERTY
Netflix, Twitter and
Internet activists have
won. Big cable has lost. At
least until the federal
courts get involved, when
everything could change.
Five things you need to
know about the Federal
Thursday, Feb. 26 to
enforce "net neutrality"
rules for the broadband
1. NET NEUTRALI
TY IS WHAT YOU
ALREADY HAVE. With
few exceptions, the cable
and wireless companies
that provide much of the
nation's broadband already
operate under the idea of
net neutrality. This means
they don't discriminate
among similar types of
Web traffic, and don't
intentionally slow or block
The FCC decision was
intended to make sure that
the Internet as we know it
Regulators say this was
important because some
providers had signaled an
interest in manipulating
their network traffic,
potentially entering into
paid deals with sites like
Netflix to move their con
tent faster. But these efforts
never got very far, and
many providers say they
to upset consumers by
violating basic net neutral
2. THIS WILL
AFFECT YOU. JUST
NOT ANYTIME SOON.
The FCC put the Internet
in the same regulatory
camp as the telephone, reg
ulating it like a public util
ity. That means whatever
company provides your
Internet connection, even
if it's to your phone, will
now have to act in the pub
lic interest and not do any
thing that might be consid
ered "unjust or unreason
able." If they don't, you can
complain and the FCC can
step in to investigate.
providers are expected to
sue. It's likely they will ask
the courts to delay imple
mentation of the rules
pending judicial review.
And if a judge agrees, the
legal wrangling could slip
well into the next presi
dent's first term.
Even if a judge grants a
stay on the rules, it's
unlikely that Internet serv
ice providers would start
throttling Web traffic or
creating paid fast lanes.
Most consumers don't like
the idea, and companies
would face a fierce public
3. THE CABLE
The cable and wireless
companies that offer
broadband say the worst
part about the new rules is
that they aren't predictable.
Commissioner Ajit Pai
compared it to playing a
game in which white flags
would arbitrarily be
thrown on the field. Pai
and industry officials say
this kind of uncertainty
will affect how Internet
Providers will be much
less willing to offer new
services to consumers if
they think the FCC might
get involved, they say.
ACTIVISTS ARE HAV
ING A MOMENT. Small
won a fight in Washington
without deep pockets and
lots of lobbyists. They did
it by drumming up support
among average Americans,
who flooded the FCC with
a record-breaking number
of public comments. As an
executive at Mozilla put it,
millions of people stood
together as citizens of the
Web to demand those
President Barack Obama
gushed that the FCC deci
sion " wouldn't have hap
pened without Americans
5. NEXT STOP IS
broadband providers turn
to their lawyers to mount a
legal protest to the FCC
rules. Republican lawmak
ers say they will push for a
legislative fix. Sen. John
Thune, R-S.D., chairman
of the Senate Commerce
Committee, is expected to
lead this fight, starting with
March 18 hearings.
However, the FCC reg
ulations give most
Democrats exactly what
they wanted in the first
place. And Obama likely
would veto anything else.
So it's unclear whether
Thune or others might be
able to find any momen
tum before the next presi
Agencies that cater to'the homeless were open during the cold weather. They
usually are closed to the homeless during the daytime.
Cold We "* a
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ter, so we have
things that they could do."
Potter said that the shelter received
some relief from other shelters opening
earlier so that those seeking a bed could
get in earlier. He said it is that type of
teamwork that helps alleviate what could
be a problematic situation.
"We are all pretty much working
together," he said. "We all have the same
goal. We were allowing people to come in
early, take showers and get in their beds
The shelter did prepare and see if they
could house more people due to the
"We had the city come out and inspect
some areas to see how many people we
could have on mats just in case there was a
serious overflow," he said.
Another issue that the shelter found
itself dealing with was food. Potter said
that the organization does not typically
provide meals but surrounding churches
and nonprofits take on the task. With the
inclement weather, a lot of those organiza
tions were either closed or cancelled activ
"We had to go out and buy bread and
meat to make sure that we could feed
them. We had to make sure we had enough
food on hand for those ifot only in the night
shelter but for our guests in the day, as
well," Potter said.
Potter said that the center has also seen
30 increase in those who come by during
the day. He said that most people use the
resource or reading areas if they can't
reach a smaller library.
The city is stilling working on its effort
to end chronic homelessness. Over the last
several years, the city has an average of
500 who may be homeless on any given
night. Now in its eighth year, the plan has
shown a decrease in chronic and veteran
homelessness due to some of the programs
This year, there was a 21 percent
decrease in the number of homeless veter
ans that were served.
"Our program is showing that when
you target programs to meet peoples' spe
cific needs, you really can end homeless
ness," said Andrea Kurtz, director of the
Ten Year Plan to End Chronic
Homelessness. "One of the things we '.
know about homelessness is that about
half of the people who come into the shel
ter, stay about two weeks, and don't come
back, so a lot of people use the system for
what it's designed for. It was working for a '
majority of people but not for the chroni
cally homeless and veterans."
Kurtz said that the community has a
very small unsheltered population. She
said another way the homeless count is
measured is by the services that they
"We identified 19 people who are liv
ing on the street. Most of the people are
staying in some form of program," she
"The total number of people that we
saw last year for services was 1,760, a 4
percent decrease from the year before, but
in 2013, we saw a 15 percent decrease."
Kurtz said that she feels that the pro
gram is on track to meet their goals, but as
long as there is someone homeless, their
work is not done.
For more information on donating to
these agencies, call Bethesda Center at
336-722-9951 or Samaritan Ministries
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Mayor Alton Joines City Council: Vivian H.
Burke, Mayor Pfo Tempore, Northeast Want
Oemse 0 Adams. North Ward; Dan Bosaa,
Southwest Ward; Robert C. Dark, Wast
Ward; Mody Laight. South Ward; Jtff
Macintosh, Northwest Want Darwin I.
Montgomery, East Ward, James Taylor, Jr..
Southeastward City Manager Lae Garrity