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December, 2010

Emergencies Abroad: What Do You Dial?

December 1, 2010 - 02:58 PM

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If you're traveling in Europe and suddenly you need to make an emergency call - what do you do? Dial "112." Don't call 911 as you would in the United States; that number doesn't work in Europe. Dialing 112 from any country in the European Union (EU) will connect you to emergency services, such as police, fire, and ambulance services. (See the list of European Union member countries.) Dialing 112 could be a life-saver and is completely free. You can dial 112 from any mobile phone, landline, or payphone. In most EU countries, the operator will speak both the local language and English (you can find country specific details).

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Preserving a Free and Open Internet

December 1, 2010 - 11:16 AM

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:88:height=93,width=70]]After months of hard work we have reached an important milestone in the fight to protect a free and open Internet for all Americans. 

Today, the FCC proposed basic rules of the road to preserve the open Internet as a platform for innovation, investment, job creation, competition, and free expression. If adopted later this month, these basic rules will mean several things for consumers, namely:

  1. Americans have the freedom to access lawful content on the Internet, without discrimination. No one should be able to tell you what you can or can’t do on the Internet, as long as it’s lawful. Our rules will ensure that no central authority—either corporations or government—have the right to decide what you can access on the Internet. 
  2. You have a right to basic information about your broadband service.  Our proposed framework will ensure that consumers have information they need to make informed choices about subscribing or using broadband networks. 
  3. The Internet will remain a level playing field. The ability for consumers to speak their mind, engage in commerce and innovate without permission from a corporation has enabled the Internet’s unparalled success.  Our rules will protect against corporate gatekeepers prioritizing access to one person’s content over another’s.

The openness of the Internet has enabled unparalleled innovation and job growth, yet we continue to find examples of this freedom being attacked. We have found instances when broadband providers position themselves as gatekeepers to the Internet, and have prevented consumers from using applications of their choice without disclosing what they were doing.

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The Perfect, the Good, and the FCC

December 1, 2010 - 12:00 AM
Guest Post by Kevin Werbach
 
It has been a busy week in U.S. communications policy, with an FCC meeting adopting important spectrum policy reforms, an FCC complaint about Comcast’s approval policies for cable modems, and a dispute between Comcast and Level 3 over fees for Internet backbone traffic.  And late last night, it got even more interesting.
 
FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski reportedly circulated a draft Open Internet order, to be considered at the FCC’s December 21 meeting.  According to a statement given to reporters, the order builds on the compromise terms from Congressional negotiations led by Representative Henry Waxman this fall.  What does that mean?  I’m confident of two things: Hardly anyone will like the proposal; and it’s the right thing to do.
 
Advocates of network neutrality will be disappointed the FCC isn’t going forward with “reclassification” of broadband access as a regulated telecommunications service, while many Republicans and network operators will complain about a “power grab” to “regulate the Internet” even after Democratic losses in the midterm elections.  Both should  put aside their ideologies and look realistically at the situation.
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