Chris J Powell

Net Neutrality, Viral Outbreaks and the Future of Cable TV

The first and third topics are directly linked together today as we again contemplate the return of a fixed cable tv connection with the monopoly Rogers Cable (the fiasco of getting this service connected last week was an act of utter frustration but we are getting 3 months free and a free HD PVR…so I guess its not too bad).

Net Neutrality is something that across the globe has an impact on each and every one of us.  According to 2008 statistics 84% of Canadians and 78% of all North American’s have access to the internet.  Looking to statistics in the internet age that are 3 years old though are likely to be wildly skewed and since 2008 we have seen the radical shift and growth of mobile broadband so I think that it would be fair to assume that these percentages are off by 5 – 10%.

That being said, Net Neutrality as defined by

Network neutrality (also net neutrality, Internet neutrality) is a principle which advocates no restrictions by Internet Service Providers or governments on consumers’ access to networks that participate in the internet. Specifically, network neutrality would prevent restrictions on content, sites, platforms, the kinds of equipment that may be attached, or the modes of communication.

The openness and freedom that the Internet Provides to each of us who have made the move to connect our phones, computers, tablets and TVs to the interwebz means that we each have a stake in the future of how the internet should continue to provide us what we want without the interference, traffic shaping, taxation and censorship that can be forced upon us should we not make a stand and say NO MORE!  I have been involved with for some time and for my Canadian Readers I strongly suggest that you check out their site and find at least one way you can have your voice heard.

For my International Readers here is a list of similar connections for you:

Trans Atlantic Consumer Dialogue

World Summit on the Information Society

Electronic Frontier Foundation

Net Neutrality

If anyone knows of more Neutrality Links feel free to post them in the comments section!

Now I have not had to deal with a viral outbreak at home for several years (at least on my computers) which is a refreshing change as I am no longer an active “Tech Support Super Hero”.  Now this change is not because I have changed my surfing habits, I have paid for stronger security software or even put some filtering software on the network…my move in 2005 to a complete Linux Ecosystem has stemmed the tide of viral headaches coming on to the many computers that litter our house.

But in the past couple weeks I have had several of my small IT Clients have to reschedule their appointments with me because they are dealing with a Conflicker Outbreak!  Let’s look at this one virus for a moment and scratch our heads.  I remember this outbreak and the numbers of customers I had to support in 2008-2009 when they were not able to connect to the internet and surf and at the time there was a huge outcry for Microsoft to get better with their security patches but after the release of the patch and detailed instructions I thought that Conflicker had gone the way of Small Pox.  If you find yourself returning to the days of Conflicker here is the link to the Microsoft Knowledgebase Article.

Last but not least…what is the future of Cable TV?  With pressure coming from multiple fronts with Netflix, Hulu and other options available is there still a reason to emptying your bank account and dumping it into these regional monopolies?  As I mentioned in the first paragraph, after 6 years we are returning to life with cable (hopefully tonight) but the experience so far has been very painful.

Is there a better alternative out there…we tried Netflix and while we enjoyed the FREE Trial…we basically watched everything we wanted to see in their watered down Canadian version.  Our personal return to Cable is short term…or as my wife says “so I can watch Big Brother this summer”.  I hope that online alternatives get stronger and that the CRTC opens up some of the restrictions they have placed on IPTV providers so that we can watch the full catalog then and only then will services like NetFlix be a true competitor to Rogers and BellTV here in Canada.


One other reason that I gave in to having the “Cable Guy” guy return is that I do see that there will be a fundamental shift as there is more competition in the space and the strength of the set top box as a source of connectivity and information will continue to grow so I cross my fingers that prices will soon start to drop but I am not holding my breath!

Well that is it for me…but I look forward to my next 480 minutes!  And this coming weekend I will be moving this blog to my main site and doing my daily posts from there

Chris J Powell

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