FCC Adopts Strong, Sustainable Rules to Protect The Open Internet

The Federal Communications Commission voted Thursday to implement new net neutrality rules designed to make sure Internet service providers treat all legal content equally. The historic vote on the proposal by FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler elicited hearty cheers from a wide array of technology companies and consumer groups while setting the table for further legal challenges from Internet service providers. The controversial proceedings that led up to the vote generated heated lobbying in Washington and public clamor on social media, all in efforts to steer the future direction of the rules that guide Internet traffic.

“No one … should control free and open access to the Internet,” Wheeler said to applause from the standing room-only crowd gathered before the FCC panel. “It’s the most powerful and pervasive platform on the planet. The Internet is too important to allow broadband providers to make the rules.”

The Commission, once and for all, enacts strong, sustainable rules, grounded in multiple sources of legal authority, to ensure that Americans reap the economic, social, and civic benefits of an Open Internet today and into the future.  These new rules are guided by three principles:  America’s broadband networks must be fast, fair and open—principles shared by the overwhelming majority of the nearly 4 million commenters who participated in the FCC’s Open Internet proceeding. Complete presss release can be viewed at http://www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-adopts-strong-sustainable-rules-protect-open-internet

Bright Line Rules: The first three rules ban practices that are known to harm the Open Internet:

  • No Blocking: broadband providers may not block access to legal content, applications, services,
    or non-harmful devices.
  • No Throttling: broadband providers may not impair or degrade lawful Internet traffic on the
    basis of content, applications, services, or non-harmful devices.
  • No Paid Prioritization: broadband providers may not favor some lawful Internet traffic over
    other lawful traffic in exchange for consideration of any kind—in other words, no “fast lanes.”

This rule also bans ISPs from prioritizing content and services of their affiliates. The bright-line rules against blocking and throttling will prohibit harmful practices that target specific
applications or classes of applications. And the ban on paid prioritization ensures that there will be no fast lanes.

A Standard for Future Conduct: Because the Internet is always growing and changing, there must be a known standard by which to address any concerns that arise with new practices. The Order establishes that ISPs cannot “unreasonably interfere with or unreasonably disadvantage” the ability of consumers to select, access, and use the lawful content, applications, services, or devices of their choosing; or of edge providers to make lawful content, applications, services, or devices available to consumers. Today’s Order ensures that the Commission will have authority to address questionable practices on a case-by-case basis, and provides guidance in the form of factors on how the Commission will apply the standard
in practice.

Has the FCC really Adopted a Strong, Sustainable Rules to Protect The Open Internet? My opinion will be posted tomorrow on how this new ruling will affect businesses and consumers.

Questions Remain Ahead: Net Neutrality FCC Vote is Today

tom wheelerI have never liked Tom Wheeler, Chairman of the FCC. I always thought he was on the wrong side of the argument when he was Chairman of the National Cable Television Association. I just don’t trust the man and now he is going to plop down a 317-page+ piece of regulation that most people interpret as “net neutrality”. Guess what, it’s not.

Posted on CNET are 8 burning questions about Net neutrality you should read. CNET breaks down everything you need to know about complicated, but critical, issue.

I think everyone wants net neutrality, but for some reason I don’t think it takes more than 300 pages to get the job done. What is he trying to fix, and more important what is broken? The FCC is voting during an open meeting today, Thursday February 26th at 10:30 am ET on whether to reclassify broadband access as a telecommunications service under Title II which by the way is very outdated, was originally written in 1988 before the internet was readily available to the public.

  • Will it contain fees?
  • Will it contain restrictions?
  • Will the Internet be regulated?
  • Will it impinge upon some content?
  • Will it add operating expense to your business?
  • Will it include net neutrality? I guarantee it, I just don’t know the flavor.

I found another great post on NPR everyone should read The FCC’s Net Neutrality Vote: Here’s What You Need To Know

I can’t write a blog outlining the horrors or even the beautiful free skies of net neutrality until I see the regulation. I can’t because I am not an FCC commissioner and only their eyes are allowed to see.

Low Cost Hosted VoIP Services Provider can save your business major monthly Expenses

Carolina Digital PhoneSince Alexander Graham Bell invented it into existence, reliable phone service has played a vital role in keeping businesses up and running. That telephone on the desk makes it possible to take orders, obtain supplies and keep in touch with customers. Let’s face it: If your phone system should ever fail, you might as well lock up and go home. There’s only one problem. Unless you’ve upgraded to hosted Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, you’re spending far more than you should on your telephone service.

How Your Telephone System Affects Your Bottom Line:  Some fail to realize the expense of using so-called plain old telephone services. Traditional POTS systems rely on analog technology to transmit data through electronic frequencies. While this methodology is cheap and simple to transmit over short distances, voice quality fades in a hurry when vast expanses come into play. To overcome this inherent defect, old-fashioned telephone services rely on a public switched telephone network, or PSTN, to transfer calls incrementally between locations through a grid of cables, satellites, switchboards and telephone lines. Each such transfer adds to the cost, sending long-distance rates that much higher with each additional mile. For this reason, POTS systems normally charge by the call. With hosted services, on the other hand, it’s a different story.

The Benefits of VoIP for Business: Instead of paying by the call, the business that switches to hosted PBX and VoIP services will incur just a moderate monthly fee with unlimited calls allowed and no extra charge for long distance. That’s because these services utilize a broadband Internet connection to transmit data digitally from the point of origin to the telephone exchange that’s closest to the final destination.

In addition to saving money, hosted VoIP and hosted PBX services are:

  • Reliable. Regardless of external influences, round-the-clock monitored maintenance will keep your system up and running.
  • Scalable. Your hosted service can expand or contract to match the changing needs of your business.
  • Versatile. No antiquated POTS system can provide the advanced features you’ll get from an Internet-based service.
  • Mobile. Users of hosted PBX and hosted VoIP can make and receive calls through a laptop or forward incoming communications to a mobile phone.
  • User-friendly. The Web-based interface is intuitive and simple to use

If you’re still running with your business on outdated analog telephone services, it’s time to ask yourself why. For service on which you can always rely at a price that will make you smile, hosted PBX and VoIP are the only way to go. Once you’ve enjoyed the benefits of VoIP for business, you’ll wonder why you waited so long to switch. When considering Hosted VoIP for your business telephone system call the experts at Carolina Digital Phone at (336) 691-2000.

Stay updated by reading http://CarolinaDigital.Today and visit http://siptrunking.reviews for SIP Trunking Review and Options updates on VoIP Options for your business. For Schools Please visit http://erate.tips for USAC Updates and Tips for Using E-Rate Funding for Schools and Libraries.


Nicky Smith

About the Author: Nicky Smith – For the past 30+ years, computers, advanced technology and solving problems with this new technology have been his business. In 1978, he graduated from Appalachian State University in Boone, NC with the first graduating class in the 16 North Carolina Universities with an Information Systems degree from the College of Business. For the last 15 years Nicky has served as the visionary leader and CEO of CAROLINANET.COM, a web hosting and server colocation data center and since 2004 the CEO of Carolina Digital Phone offering hosted telephone services and SIP Trunking. Read more at his LinkedIN page http://www.linkedin.com/in/nickysmith

Follow Nicky Smith on Twitter @PBXintheCloud, Google Plus at https://plus.google.com/+Carolinadigitalphone/ and on Facebook

Do you remember the telecom switch days?

How quickly we forget how competitive the long distance market was just 15 years ago. It was AT&T, Sprint, MCI and who knows who would come along next. Today the competitive market for business to look at hosted VoIP for telephone service is warming up and business owners can save over 60% over their current land-line based telephone company. Please enjoy this video and have a great laugh! Want make the switch? Call Carolina Digital Phone at (336) 691-2000 in Greensboro, NC.

How does net neutrality effect me?

Q: What is net neutrality?
A: Net neutrality, or open Internet, is the principle that Internet service providers should give consumers access to all legal content and applications on an equal basis, without favoring or blocking some sources. It also prohibits Internet service providers (ISPs) from charging content providers for speedier delivery of their content on “fast lanes” or deliberately slowing the content from content providers that may compete with ISPs.

Q: How will new net neutrality rules affect me?
A: The rules aim to ensure a high-quality Internet experience for all on home broadband Internet service. The proposed FCC regulations aim to ensure that Internet content — be it streaming video, audio or other content — will be treated equally by Internet service providers. Another goal of the initiatives: To give start-ups and entrepreneurs access to broadband networks without undue influence from the ISPs.

Q: How will new net neutrality rules affect me?
A: The rules aim to ensure a high-quality Internet experience for all on home broadband Internet service. The proposed FCC regulations aim to ensure that Internet content — be it streaming video, audio or other content — will be treated equally by Internet service providers. Another goal of the initiatives: To give start-ups and entrepreneurs access to broadband networks without undue influence from the ISPs.

Q: So what’s going to happen when I’m streaming House of Cards in the future?
A: In theory, the only thing that should change is that there are actual regulations on the books — or potentially laws, should Congress pass new ones — that prohibit ISPs’ discrimination of content and content providers. An ISP would be prohibited from slowing the delivery of a TV show simply because it’s streamed by a video company that competes with a subsidiary of the ISP. That doesn’t mean everyone gets the same level of Internet service — remember, customers already pay for different speeds. And the price of broadband could rise over the years as speeds increase and technology advances. What the FCC’s rules would do is prevent an ISP from favoring content, blocking content, or other conduct that would harm consumers.

Q: What’s the difference between an ISP and a content provider? 
A: An Internet service provider is a company that provides you with access to the Internet. Some popular ISPs in the U.S. include AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, Cox and Time Warner Cable. Content providers are companies like Netflix and Amazon that create and/or distribute videos and programs. Sometimes an ISP is also a content provider. For instance, Comcast owns NBCUniversal and delivers TV shows and movies through its Xfinity Internet service.

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Making the Move to Hosted VOIP

Carolina Digital PhoneDoes your business still have a traditional telephone service? If so, you’re living in the dark ages! Standard telephone services don’t have anything on hosted VoIP services, providing that you choose the right service to meet your needs.

First of all, a standard telephone service is just a standard telephone service; it can’t offer you all of the great features of a hosted VoIP service. A hosted service can provide auto telephone attendants to answer calls when it’s not convenient (or cost effective!) for a live answerer to do so. These services can also provide voice mail, caller identification and tracking, call routing, directories to help callers reach the right person, call forwarding, call recording, and so much more. Obviously, it’s important for you to know what features your business requires; when you know that information ahead of time, you can easily find a hosted VoIP service that offers all of the features you need to help your business run as smoothly and as efficiently as possible.

With so many excellent features, you would think that a hosted VoIP service would be a lot more expensive than a standard telephone service, but, surprisingly, that’s actually not the case at all. As mentioned above, hosted VoIP services allow for much of the work to be done by automated systems, rather than by actual people, meaning you don’t have to pay an actual person to provide your necessary services. In fact, most hosted services simply charge a low monthly rate per user. Contracts vary from provider to provider but do not have to be very long-term in nature. And, surprisingly, you also don’t need a lot of equipment, if any, on-site; in fact, with some plans, you don’t need any equipment in your office at all, further minimizing costs. A good provider will talk to you about your individual needs and will match you with a service that is specifically tailored to those needs, making finding the perfect plan (and the perfect price!) a breeze.

Another good thing about hosted VoIP services is that they can handle a very large call volume. The goal of any company is to grow and expand, and if you’re reaching that goal, you may find that your old, standard telephone service doesn’t work for you anymore. A good VoIP service, however, will! Plus, you don’t have to hire a local VoIP service; no, these services can offer you assistance from anywhere and at anytime, making them convenient and capable of meeting your needs even as those needs change. With so many great reasons to make the switch to a hosted VoIP service, what are you waiting for?

When considering Hosted VoIP for your business telephone system call the experts at Carolina Digital Phone at (336) 691-2000.

SIP Trunks Replace Traditional Telecom PRI

Carolina Digital PhoneWhat’s overly expensive, set in its ways and headed down the road to obsolescence? It’s telecommunications via Primary Rate Interface, and if your business still uses this old-time voice delivery method, you might want to ask yourself why.

What PRI Is and Is Not:  PRI is nothing more than a form of digital circuitry that offers its users 23 channels or voice paths over a single signaling circuit. Because PRI connects directly to the , the call quality is good. Unfortunately, the entire PRI system calls for a substantial investment in cables and hardware. This makes it less than ideal for use in the modern business office.

Session Initiated Protocol Trunking: With SIP trunking, all calls route through the Internet, requiring no external hardware or circuitry. Instead of interfacing with the telephone company, the SIP trunk connects your organization directly to an Internet telephony service provider. This use of Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, makes it vastly less expensive to operate while providing a flexibility that positions it well for modern business use.

Benefits of SIPWhen calculating the ways in which SIP outstrips PRI, several features come to mind. Chiefly, an SIP trunk provides:

A virtual connection. Unlike PRI, SIP trunking has no need for cables and termination hardware to connect each individual circuit.

  • Scalability. Perhaps the biggest selling point of any VoIP system is its ability to add capacity through nothing more involved than a simple software reconfiguration. With SIP, you’re dealing with only one network and one set of cables. With PRI, on the other hand, scaling up requires the installation of new circuits and hardware. This can take weeks to accomplish.
  • Savings. The already high cost of running on PRI will rise in line with the number of voice channels a company uses. An SIP trunking system, on the other hand, bases its pricing on actual usage, saving its users hundreds of dollars each month.
  • Reliable disaster recovery. The simplified setup of SIP eliminates the headache of recovering from telecommunication loss due to accident or natural disaster. Whereas the diversion of PRI calls to alternative locations can be costly and involved, the business that runs with an SIP-based telephony system can trust that its calls will automatically reroute to one or more functioning localities.Without question, the capability and cost-effective nature of SIP trunking have already far outstripped any benefits of the older technology. While VoIP rules the day, the death knell for PRI has already begun to ring.

When considering SIP Services for your telephone system call the experts at Carolina Digital Phone at (336) 691-2000.

A company is only as good as the people it keeps

“People are definitely a company’s greatest asset. It doesn’t make any difference whether the product is cars or cosmetics. A company is only as good as the people it keeps.”  ~ Mary Kay Ash

North State Fiber Comes to Greensboro

IMG_4697IMG_4696Throughout the Starmount neighborhood I am seeing Datawatt Solutions trucks installing orange interduck for fiber to be installed in homes in Greensboro. This excites me to see finally we might get some competition in our city for high speed internet access, not to mention we might get real high definition television at a reasonable price. As the trucks roll closer to my street in Hamilton Lakes I made inquiry to North State and they told me:

Carol Lockhart <Carol.Lockhart@nscom.com> , 2/9/2015 12:35 PM:
Hi Nicky.

As you are aware North State is installing Fiber in several areas in Greensboro. I've heard from others in the area that you understand what fiber can mean to residents and businesses and that you might be a great contact for us.

It appears that your address is in our Phase 2 section of the build. This means availability at your address will be a little further out.

Best regards,
Carol Lockhart
Sr. Manager - Relationship Marketing
1730 Westchester Dr., 
High Point, NC 27262

North State Fiber brings amazing things to your home. Gigabit Internet. Stunning HD. Limitless possibilities.

North State Communications is taking this as an opportunity to jump into the Greensboro market and deliver Gigabit fiber to homes and businesses in Greensboro when Google has made the decision to go to Charlotte and Raleigh. For my limited knowledge of North State Telephone they are a privately held, very profitable, cash rich family in High Point that has the capital to build their fiber network into Greensboro. North State is an innovative, forward-thinking communications and information technology company dedicated to meeting the needs of consumers and businesses in High Point, Thomasville, Archdale, Randleman, Jamestown, Trinity, Greensboro, Kernersville and beyond. Their goal is to provide the best, most technologically advanced products and services available supported by local, knowledgeable, friendly technicians and sales representatives. My long term speculation is that if North State builds a carrier-class fiber network in the Piedmont Triad it will long-term benefit them not because they will create a new revenue stream, but will build a value more than of their small private telephone company in High Point positioning themselves for an exit strategy that will pocket them many millions.

The competitive market internet savvy home bound tele-workers is about to become much better. I think with North State making the large multi-million dollar investment into the Greensboro community this should tell us that someone in High Point sees an opportunity to help us grow and have some competition. Maybe TW Cable and AT&T will pony up their game and improve their service, technology and pricing. TW Cable’s 50 year old coax cable radio signal technology know as DOCSIS 3.0 is outdated and has an end-of-life.

Time-Warner-Cable-LogoFrankly, living in the Piedmont Triad of North Carolina, being a business owner and a tax paying citizen,  I am fed up with only having two options TW Cable and AT&T. TW Cable has the worst technology and absolutely the worst customer service of any company I have ever had to deal with in my lifetime. I can say honesting I have had better experiences dealing with the IRS and the FCC than I have with TW Cable.

angry internet userEvery time it rains in Greensboro I am guaranteed to have internet problems. When school get out in the afternoon and kids get home to surf the net my access slows down. I have shown TW Cable router engineers problems they have in their core network and they only tell me they are doing the best they can with the resources they have because I am told unofficially that their capital improvements have been frozen until after the TW Cable – Comcast merger.

By they way if you think Time Warner Cable customer service is bad, wait until to talk to a Comcast customer service representative. Read the Criticism of Comcast Customer service posted on Wikipedia. It a miracle that they are still in business except they have a monopoly on the market. I will not go in to my beliefs to why they have a monopoly, only to say look at the lobbyist groups in Washington DC. Read Comcast and Time Warner Cable Spend $5 Million Lobbying in Q1, or  in Time Magazine online Why Comcast has 76 lobbyist working in Washington DC.

Did you know?

small businessesThere are 27 million small businesses in the U.S., which generate income for 70 million employees and family members. Small businesses create 4,000 new jobs on an average day. This is 90 percent of new jobs in America. We are a true small business nation.

Source: U.S. Department of Commerce/Small Business Administration

“And fifth, we will champion small businesses, America’s engine of job growth. That means reducing taxes on business, not raising them. It means simplifying and modernizing the regulations that hurt small business the most. And it means that we must rein in the skyrocketing cost of healthcare by repealing and replacing Obamacare.” – Mitt Rommney

Famous Quote for Today

“Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary” – Steve Jobs

Benefits of SIP Trunking for Your Business

From PC World, Paul Desmond wrote an article called “Five Business Benefits of SIP Trunking:” As the Infonetics numbers indicate, small and medium-sized businesses have some good reasons to move to SIP Trunking. Here are five of them.

  1. Lower cost. While the figures vary widely depending on what you currently have and the exact SIP trunk offering you replace it with, savings in the 30% to 60% range are well within the realm of possibility. What’s more, while PRI and T1 lines are sold in certain increments, such as four, eight or 24 channels, you can order SIP trunks in any size you want. If you’ve got a small office that requires only one or two sessions at a time, you can order and pay for a trunk of only that size.
  2. Highly scalable. And should that office grow over time, you can add more circuits to the SIP trunk, again ordering only what you need. No more trying to calculate whether it’s worth moving from a PRI to T1 or T1 to T3, even though you know you don’t need the entire capacity of the larger line.
  3. More flexibility. You can also adjust the size of your SIP trunk to allow for variations in bandwidth requirements, such as to deal with seasonal changes in call volumes. Similarly, you can dynamically vary the amount of bandwidth given to any application based on requirements at any point in time.
  4. Support for Unified Communications. SIP is crucial for enabling UC applications including presence and advanced features such as the ability to transfer a call from a mobile phone to a laptop-based soft phone without dropping it. SIP trunks provide the network foundation upon which your firm can deploy such applications.
  5. Reliability and disaster recovery. Because they’re IP-based, SIP trunks are far more flexible than traditional “fixed” circuits such as T1 or PRI lines. Users can program SIP lines such that if a given user is out of the office, or an entire office is out of commission, the lines roll over to backup sites, phones or devices located anywhere on the company’s network – or at a backup facility. It’s all based on the business rules you set up ahead of time.

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