Internet

FCC Decides to Reclassify Broadband Providers as Telecommunications Companies

Episode 1166

The FCC this week voted 3-2 to reclassify broadband providers as telecommunications companies. This gives the FCC the ability to regulate the internet. The FCC has tried to regulate internet service providers, but was thwarted by lawsuits. The courts agreed that the FCC had no right to regulate them unless they were telecommunications companies, not information companies. After considerable debate and 4 million comments to the FCC website, the FCC voted on Thursday to reclassify internet service providers as telecommunications companies.

What does the FCC's decision on Net Neutrality mean for broadband competition?

Mark from Santa Ana, CA

Episode 1165

Mark says if the government wants to make broadband internet a utility, the FCC should regulate it like a utility. He makes the point that the reason it's a utility is because there's only one place to get it, like the gas or electric companies. Leo says we can blame the FCC for giving the cable companies a monopoly years ago. But he says they had been more or less blackmailed into that decision because the cable companies told the FCC they wouldn't build out the infrastructure otherwise.

Is the SSL certificate "Comodo" safe?

Steve from Long Island, NY

Episode 1166

Steve is worried about Comodo for security. Leo says that Comodo is not Kommodia, so it's not a security issue like Kommodia is. Superfish uses Kommodia to get beyond web browser security, but it was even worse. Comodo, though, is a completely different software. SSL certificates can be circumvented by those who visit Steve's site and there really isn't anything he can do about it. It doesn't really affect you -- it affects them. So Steve should get the encryption he can and understand that it's possible the end user will get something that breaks it on their end, not his.

Is a Femtocell a good way to get better cell reception in my house?

Greg from Dillon Beach, CA

Episode 1158

Greg has an issue with weak Verizon cellphone reception in his area. He wants to know if a Femtocell is a good option to fix that. Leo says it is if he has Internet in his house. Every cell phone company offers them, and they act as a kind of cell phone tower in the home, routing phone calls through the internet. But it depends on how much they want to keep him as a customer. If he asks for a customer retention expert and respectfully explain the problem, they may even offer him one at no charge. But if they try and sell him one, hold out.

Have you heard of Li-Fi?

Episode 1153

Jack from Thornton, NH
Light beams

Jack is wondering if Leo had heard of LiFi, which uses light to transfer data between the ISP and the computer. This is not the first time we've seen this kind of thing, and there are a number of ISPs that use microwave as well. Microwave and LiFi require direct line of sight. Leo says in theory, this makes sense, as it uses the same type of technology as fiber-optic. But there are issues with this, and this line-of-sight light could be interrupted by weather and other factors.

Can I turn an old printer into an internet enabled printer?

Episode 1141

Nick from Belmar, NJ
Printer

Nick has heard about a technology that could turn any printer into an internet enabled computer. Leo says that the current state of the art is wireless, and using AirPlay, he can Air Print. But if he doesn't have that capability, then XPrintServer can take a USB printer and turn it into a internet enabled and networked printer. If it's older, then it may or may not work. HP did have a technology called JetDirect which did it.

(Disclaimer: xPrintServer is a sponsor)

Why can't my Roku box get online?

Episode 1139

Jeff from Fallbrook, CA
Roku

Jeff has a new Roku box that he picked up on Black Friday, but it's not connecting. Roku says that the box has gone bad. Leo says it seems unlikely the device itself is bad. Jeff has the same problem with his internet enabled Blu-ray player. Leo says that means it isn't the devices themselves. It has to be the network or internet connection. Leo suggests restarting everything from the computer, to the cable box, to the router. Leo also suggests connecting it via hardwire to see if that solves it. If so, then there's a wireless issue.