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Winston-Salem chronicle. (Winston-Salem, N.C.) 1974-current, March 05, 2015, Page A9, Image 9

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5 things to know about 'net neutrality' | BY ANNE FLAHERTY ASSOCIATED PRESS WASHINGTON - 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 Communications Commission's vote Thursday, Feb. 26 to enforce "net neutrality" rules for the broadband industry: 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 data. The FCC decision was intended to make sure that the Internet as we know it doesn't change. 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 don't want to upset consumers by violating basic net neutral ity principles. 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. But broadband 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 backlash. 3. THE CABLE COMPANIES LOST. The cable and wireless companies that offer broadband say the worst part about the new rules is that they aren't predictable. Republican FCC 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 operate. Providers will be much less willing to offer new services to consumers if they think the FCC might get involved, they say. 4. INTERNET ACTIVISTS ARE HAV ING A MOMENT. Small Internet-based companies 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 strong protections." President Barack Obama gushed that the FCC deci sion " wouldn't have hap pened without Americans like you." 5. NEXT STOP IS CONGRESS. While 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 dential election. 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 ?? -resource cen from page AT . . ter, so we have computers and 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 early." The shelter did prepare and see if they could house more people due to the extreme weather. "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 ities. "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 in place. 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 receive. "We identified 19 people who are liv ing on the street. Most of the people are staying in some form of program," she said. "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 336-748-1962. . ' | march i*-aa,aoig ? M 'tm jv"p ' mgSkn?e FORSYTH CREEK WEB< IS BROUGHT TO YOU BY THESE SPONSORS Morth^State ????? | foajf* - ? 0^ ohayward Let the city take it! Bulky item collection begins March 2 and goes through Sept. 5 for single-family households in Winston-Salem. Collection guidelines and address look-up at or call Citylink 311. Cat 3? or 336-727-0000 crtylinM*crtyofuisorg * 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 FIND IKQNgif^l _* >

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