Internet

Why am I getting warning messages on websites after having installed browser extensions?

Dan from Northridge, FL

Episode 1089

Dan recently began using Google Chrome, and when he tries to use some extensions, he gets a warning box that says it can access his data on all websites along with browsing activity. Leo says this is true of any browser anyway, and is probably a little overzealous. Leo says his browser and internet service provider knows everything he does. This means that if he installs an extension, it will also know everything. It's important to only get browser extensions from the browser's extension store. He should only get them from well known and credible companies.

How can I get my local municipality to build its own broadband infrastructure?

Bob from Walnut Creek, CA

Episode 1087

Leo thinks this could be the best answer to the open internet issue with the FCC. If communities create their own internet, it ends the conversation because it is a municipal utility like water or electricity. One way communities could make this financially viable is to ask commercial providers to provide service on top of their infrastructure. It could also encourage competition among providers. It's a great idea, but it's hard to convince municipalities to do it.

How can I stream music live to radio stations?

Jusin from Alexander City, AL

Episode 1084

Justin streams music in real time to radio stations, but it gets problematic. Leo says that the Internet was never designed for streaming music because packets are designed to arrive out of order and be reassembled. Leo uses an ISDN, which isn't super fast, but they are point to point so it's a direct connection. This means he has consistent bandwidth that delivers packets almost instantaneously. Anything in real time can't really be used over the internet. It's too difficult. Telos makes boxes designed to do internet protocol, but Leo isn't convinced it's ready for prime time.

Voice Your Net Neutrality Concerns to the FCC

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has proposed rules that threaten the free an open internet that we enjoy today. Under the new rules, content providers would have to pay for premium access to customers. Larger companies such as Hulu, Netflix, YouTube, and Amazon would be able to pay these access fees. But smaller startups or individuals with little funding would not be able to afford this, and would be at a competitive disadvantage. The internet is full of innovations that started as small startups with little funding, like Facebook, eBay, Yahoo, and even Google.

What are my options for faster internet access?

Sheryl from Lakewood, CA

Episode 1079

Sheryl has DSL with an external router, but it's overloaded by phones, laptops, and streaming via the Roku. All she wants is fast internet that works. Her cable company won't give her separate internet, they want her to bundle with cable TV. Leo says that she can buy better service, but the price will go up. And since the FCC has given the cable company and the phone company virtual monopolies, she's really limited by the options she has, which is DSL and cable. She can request "dry loop" DSL, but as Sheryl has found out, it's not super fast if she's farther than 1km from the central hub.

Is bundling a triple play package a good deal?

Ruth from Maryland

Episode 1077

Ruth is thinking of bundling all her services. Leo says it's easy, but it's not necessarily a better deal. Leo doesn't like them in general, although there are advantages. But one of the downsides is that they rely on voiceover IP for their phone service and if your internet goes down, so does your phone, and your TV. If the power goes out, you have no phone. Phone service has it's own power, and Leo says it's worth having it for emergencies. But you do end up with a better set top box. But if that's not floating your boat, there's really no advantage to it other than convenience.