Do You Feel More Free? Net Neutrality Rules Go Into Effect Today!

FCCThe FCC’s new rules protecting Net Neutrality go into effect today.

The rules were published in a 400 page document back in March, detailing all of the web protections. To oversimplify, reclassifying the Internet as a utility means carriers and ISPs will no longer be able to prioritize some services over others. Nor can they degrade a service for the benefit of another.

Internet Service Providers are challenging these new rules, claiming they overstep the FCC’s authority and violate federal law. The United States Telecom Association requested a hold on implementing these rules as they try to fight them in court, but a three judge panel Appellate Court in DC denied their stay. We will see an accelerated time table for litigation however, in two weeks the Telecom Association and the FCC will present schedules for additional briefing.

In the meantime however, Net Neutrality will be the law of the land. The real test will come from this first year of implementation, to see if any of the doom and gloom predictions of the Telecom industry come true.

Google Chrome for Android and iOS now includes data compression

chrome bandwith management reduce data usage

It’s funny how tech moves in cycles.

When data networks were slow, and our mobile smartphones were far less powerful, we usually could count on unlimited data here in the States, even through the 3G revolution. Companies like Opera would release 3rd party browsers to help reduce data use and to speed up web browsing. Especially during the Windows Mobile days, this was tremendously helpful as web browsing could be somewhat painful on smaller screens and under-powered hardware.

Now we have devices which do a remarkable job of replicating the desktop web browsing experience, on screaming fast hardware, with broadband bandwidth over the air. Unfortunately, all of these improvements came with caps and throttling for most consumers. We don’t necessarily need the speed benefits of compression anymore, but saving a few MB’s while browsing would certainly come in handy.

Rolling out today, Chrome will now offer up data compression for Android and iOS. Once you’ve received the update, go into settings, hit Bandwidth Management, and enable “Reduce Data Usage”. Easy peasy. This wont help reduce data on any of your other apps or services, but if you use the browser, it will be able to reduce your data footprint by up to 50%, while improving your “Safe Browsing” security.

Android users will also receive an update to add website shortcuts to their homescreen directly from the browser menu. Not too shabby.

Check the Google Chrome Blog for the full scoop.

The Perils of Monetizing Free Sites – Reddit Convinces Users to Go Gold

reddit goldWhen a service starts out free, then tries to monetize, you can pretty much count on a negative reaction from the user base. It’s an incredibly delicate tightrope to walk. A company needs to make money, but it can’t push to fast lest it turn off its fans. Companies like Facebook and Twitter have been dealing with their evolving markets for years now, but neither has entirely locked their solutions for making money. Traditionally, the first steps towards monetization usually involve serving ads off to the side, and then incorporating ads into the content people interact with. Recently Instagram announced it too would start serving ads into users photo timelines. Responses for the most part were less than positive.

This makes Reddit’s latest turn really interesting. Sure Reddit serves ads in a sidebar, and the top position post is usually a sponsored post, but according to a recent Q&A session, Reddit still found itself often in the red. This galvanized the Reddit faithful, and the site saw an explosion in its premium service subscriptions.

Dubbed ‘Reddit Gold’, it’s a monthly or yearly subscription which unlocks premium content filtering, and provides discounts and extras at a number of partner sites including iFixIt, UPS, and car service Uber. To encourage community participation, users can also gift Gold to other members to reward interactions on the site. It’s an interesting way to push more money through a service without resorting to more aggressive advertising or trafficking in user data.

Well Reddit noticed the increased Gold sales, and now they’re communicating more with their users. Now on their sidebar is a daily Gold goal. Reddit is already somewhat addictive, as there’s a gamification element to submitting news stories. People vote on good stories and users get points to show how effective their participation has been. Now, users can see daily if there are enough Gold sales to help keep Reddit in the black. As the program is fairly new, and a direct response to the Reddit community’s activity, users have been extremely active in buying and gifting gold, easily besting the daily goal.

And that’s all cash in Reddit’s coffers.

(via Reddit Blog)

Google Fiber now explicitly allows home and home-based business servers

Google-Fiber1A nice little clarification for those folks lucky bastards ¬†who get to use Google Fiber. There was a touch of confusion recently as Google has pushed the talking points surrounding the improvement of residential internet offerings, and there aren’t any publicly discussed plans to offer up business grade solutions.

This caused a bit of a ruffle as many indie and start up folks headed out to Kansas City to utilize these incredibly affordable (and stupid fast) internet plans. After making a transition like that, it would be understandably frustrating to find out that utilizing Google Fiber in a commercial building would be a violation of the TOS.

Of course many of us utilize home solutions for doing business on the internet, and now Google has clarified that running servers out of a home office is A-OK, so those looking to incorporate fiber can do so without fear of Goog pulling the plug.

Still no word on business solutions for commercial spaces. Who knows, maybe traditional ISP’s might be motivated to improve their corporate offerings. It could happen.

More info on the Google Fiber Blog.

Romanian ISP to roll out $18 a Month Gigabit Fiber

1381245927--ofertaWell color me jealous… Again…

Not only are people in Kansas City lit up, folks in Austin will finally receive some actual competition, and Provo is about to flip the switch, but where else in the world will people get amazing fiber-optic-to-the-home internet connections?

Romania.

Romanian ISP RCS & RDS is rolling out new fiber and upgrading their backhaul. Not only will their customers have 500Mbps and 1Gbps tiers, the top service will only cost the equivalent of $18 a month. Yup. 1000Mbps data will cost less than one Andrew Jackson a month. Yikes… Kinda kicks that TWC “50 megs innernet” right in the junk…

(via Reddit)