Anyone can quickly check their internet speeds by running a free test like this one at www.speedtest.net.

Syracuse, N.Y. -- New York's attorney general says Spectrum-Time Warner Cable has been ripping off its customers by delivering far slower internet speeds than they are paying for.

If you suspect your internet service provider is ripping you off by not delivering the speeds it's charging you for, there's an easy way to find out for sure.

All you have to do is run a free broadband speed test. You can find a list of them easily by Googling "broadband speed test," or just click on any of the links below to run a test.

Some internet service companies provide speed tests on their websites. But you might want to avoid those to make sure you are getting the most accurate results.

The tests take less than a minute and will check both your download and upload speeds, giving you the results in megabits per second, or Mbps.

Check the bill you get from your internet service provider to see what level of service you are paying for. You may have to go to the provider's website to match up the name they give to your level of service with the internet speed associated with it.

For example, the website of Spectrum-Time Warner Cable, the biggest internet service provider in New York, says its "standard" internet plan delivers up to 15 Mbps, its "turbo" plan 20 Mbps, its "extreme" plan 30 Mbps and its "ultimate" plan 50 Mbps, with upload speeds of 1 Mbps, 1 Mbps, 5 Mbps and 5 Mbps, respectively. (In some parts of its service territory, the company tells customers they can get download speeds of up to 300 Mbps on certain plans.)

 

The website for Verizon Fios doesn't label its internet plans, but it offers speeds (both download and upload) on its fiber optic network of 50 Mbps, 100 Mbps and 150 Mbps.

If your speeds are significantly less than what you're paying for, you're getting ripped off and you might want to call your internet service provider's customer service number and complain. 

Keep in mind that the speeds you get on a Wi-Fi network will almost always be slower than those from a computer wired to your internet modem. So to be fair, try to run the test on a computer that is wired to your modem. If that's not possible, place your device as close to your Wi-Fi router as possible when you run the test.

The internet speeds provided by Spectrum-Time Warner Cable have become an issue. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman filed a lawsuit against Charter Communications on Feb. 1 accusing the company of "ripping off" customers by delivering internet speeds for its highest-speed plans that are 80 percent slower than promised. Charter acquired Time Warner Cable in May 2016 and has been changing the name of its service to Spectrum.

Schneiderman alleges that the company has refused to upgrade its network and customer equipment, making it impossible for customers to get the speeds they are paying for. Charter said it is following through on a commitment it made to the state as part of its acquisition of Time Warner Cable to "invest in our business and deliver the highest quality services to our customers."

Source : newyorkupstate.com

Categorized in How to

Federal regulators just suffered a major setback in their efforts to help cities build Internet services that compete with large providers such as Comcast and Time Warner Cable.

In a federal court decision Wednesday, the Federal Communications Commission was told that it doesn't have the power to block state laws that critics say hinder the spread of cheap, publicly run broadband service.

The ruling marks a significant defeat for a federal agency that for the past several years has turned "competition" into an almost-literal mantra, with its chairman, Tom Wheeler, repeating the word at almost every possible opportunity.

To-save-the-Internet-regulate-it
To save the Internet, regulate it

Under the court decision, large Internet providers will continue to enjoy certain benefits that insulate them from the threat of popular city-owned broadband operators such as the Electric Power Board of Chattanooga, Tenn., and the city of Wilson, N.C.

Through EPB, residents of Chattanooga have access to download speeds of 1 Gbps at rates of about $70 a month. People outside of EBP's service area have "repeatedly requested expansions" from the public utility, according to Wednesday's ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, but due to a geographic restriction put in place by the Tennessee state legislature, EPB is prohibited by law from reaching more customers.

Last year, EPB and other so-called municipal broadband providers asked the FCC to intervene on their behalf, and the agency agreed. Invoking a part of its congressional charter that it said would allow it to act against the states, the FCC tried to neutralize those state laws. The states responded by suing the agency, claiming it had no right to come between the historical relationship between states and the cities lying within their jurisdiction. This week's ruling, then, rolls back the federal government's attempt to intervene.

privating-core-part-of-the-internet
The U.S. just took one step closer to privatizing a core part of the internet

 

Wheeler, a Democrat, said Wednesday that the outcome of the case "appears to halt the promise of jobs, investment and opportunity that community broadband has provided in Tennessee and North Carolina. In the end, I believe the Commission's decision to champion municipal efforts highlighted the benefits of competition and the need of communities to take their broadband futures in their own hands."

Wheeler's opponents, including from within his own agency, said the outcome was an obvious one.

"In my statement last year dissenting from the Commission's decision, I warned that the FCC lacked the power to preempt these Tennessee and North Carolina laws, and that doing so would usurp fundamental aspects of state sovereignty," said Republican FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai. "I am pleased that the Sixth Circuit vindicated these concerns."

Berin Szoka, president of the right-leaning think tank TechFreedom, said the issue was "federalism 101."

internet-speed
Chicago's internet speeds lag behind other cities'

"The FCC was unconstitutionally interfering with the division of power between state legislatures and municipalities without a 'clear statement' from Congress authorizing it to do so."

The court ruling represents a turning point for the legal tool the FCC tried to use as a weapon against Internet providers. First deployed in earnest by the FCC as an attempt to justify its net neutrality regulations on Internet providers, Wheeler again invoked Section 706 of the Communications Act to defend his moves against state limits on municipal broadband.

 

Section 706 calls on the FCC to promote the timely deployment of broadband across the country. The state laws targeting EPB and Wilson, N.C., Wheeler argued, amounted to a legal roadblock to meeting that goal, so preempting those state laws was consistent with Congress' marching orders.

In rebuking Wheeler's FCC, the Sixth Circuit has now effectively put some new constraints on what Section 706 may be invoked to accomplish. That is a significant step: Not long ago, policy analysts were saying that there were so few limits on the relatively vague language of Section 706 that the FCC could in theory use it to justify almost anything Internet-related. In effect, the court took what some analysts viewed as an unbounded grant of legal authority and imposed some bounds on it.

There are signs, however, that municipal broadband proponents were anticipating Wednesday's outcome - and are already moving to adapt. One approach? Focus on improving cities' abilities to lay fiber optic cables that then any Internet provider can lease; so far, only one state, Nebraska, has banned this so-called "dark fiber" plan, said Christopher Mitchell, who directs the Institute for Local Self-Reliance's Community Broadband Networks Initiative.

"We're pursuing strategies that are harder for the cable and telephone companies to defeat," said Mitchell.

Source : http://www.chicagotribune.com/bluesky/technology/ct-fcc-broadband-competition-20160811-story.html

Categorized in Internet Ethics

Deciding on and setting up a business is only the beginning of your entrepreneurial journey. Unlike the Field of Dreams, you can't just build it and expect people to come. You need to start promoting it right. And nothing can be as effective as digital marketing at the moment.

Webbiquity reports that companies are increasing their digital marketing budgets. Many marketers have, for a fact, spent a total of $42.8 billion to advertise online. These numbers are natural considering the fact that today's consumers (around three billion individuals or 40% of the population) are online. Moreover, digital marketing is more affordable and cost-effective when compared to traditional marketing methods. It's also easier to track and monitor, allowing marketers to change their campaigns dynamically according to clients' likes, wants and needs.

If you too want your business to reap the benefits of digital marketing, here are five effective ways for promoting your offerings to the online community.

#1) Write a Blog or Article

Today's smart consumers need much more than ads and promotions. They want well-researched, easy-to-read, and highly informative content that allows them to effectively make buying decisions. And who better to give them advice than an industry leader as yourself? You can create articles and blog posts that show off your expertise while helping customers troubleshoot different issues. This content will place you and, ultimately, your brand in the limelight. As a result, expect your readers to think of you the next time they need your kind of services.

#2) Get Reviewed

Through a survey, Moz discovered that 67.7% of consumers may be swayed either way by online reviews. Therefore, consider having a few positive reviews online to bring traffic your way. However, remember that reviews need to be honest as readers can detect fake ones from miles away. So, work on your services' weaker points and then invite influential bloggers to try them for free. If they enjoy the experience you delivered, ask them to write and post reviews. You can later circulate these reviews via social media or press releases.

#3) Create a Video

'Seeing is believing'; treat your consumers to a detailed video that showcases your brand and services instead of boring them with blocks of text and annoying them with endless ads. In addition to entertaining your clients, video could very well be worth a thousand sales. Kissmetrics reports that videos appears in 70% of the top 100 search results, ensuring more organic traffic to your brand. Moreover, 64 to 85% of clientele are more likely to make a purchase after watching a service or product video. However, you'll need to make a great video that engages them to truly benefit from this technique.

#4) Draft a Case Study

If you're a B2B service provider, you'll need more than blog posts or articles in your marketing artillery. Though considered the underdogs of content marketing, case studies have the power to increase brand awareness and show how your brand can deliver quality results to clients. You can use your case study to drop the name of a valuable client, impressing potential customers and promoting them to start researching your offerings.

However, don't make your case study come off as too promotional. State the facts and let your clients do the talking on your behalf through quotes exclaiming how professional your brand has been. Especially focus on the results you achieved so that new clients may be tempted to try your services too. Once your case study is ready, feature it prominently on your site, send it to your mailing list, and post about it on social media.

#5) Get Social More

Social media offer a variety of channels that promises you a wider reach than any traditional advertising technique. From social networks to forums and all the way to photo sharing platforms, the sky's the limit if you decide to be more active on social media. You can also opt for promotional tools such as Facebook Ads if your budget can accommodate it. What makes these tools valuable is that you can set your campaigns to reach most of your target audience. Ads aside, you can engage your existing and prospective clients through your groups, forums or pages. How well you interact with them can determine the number of requests you'll be getting for your services in the near future.

Each of these five techniques will help you reach out to a larger audience without exhausting your budget or pushing your marketing team over the edge. So try them while the year is still young so that you can achieve your goals earlier than planned.

Source:  http://www.inc.com/aj-agrawal/5-ways-to-promote-your-service-on-the-internet.html

Categorized in Market Research

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