Image of digital scales of justice balanced by wi-fi symbol...with text reading: "What is Net Neutrality?"

Internet Neutrality, or Net Neutrality,  is the principle that internet providers (ISPS)  must treat all internet traffic equally, providers would not be allowed to divert access to any content.   Access to all sites, content, and applications at the same speed, under the same conditions, without blocking or giving preference to any content would become law.

There are arguments on both sides of this issue. Supporters of net neutrality argue that it prevents ISPs from filtering Internet content without a court order, protects freedom of speech<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of_speech> and democratic participation.


Opponents of net neutrality argue that it deters competition, increases taxes, imposes unnecessary regulations, increases access pricing which would make the Internet less accessible to poor people, prevents Internet traffic from being allocated to the most needed users…


So who should decide what can accessed over the internet? That is the question.

Lady with Holiday shopping bags with text reading: Shop SMART this Holiday Season!

The holiday shopping season is already in full swing. With stores offering discounts across a variety of must-haves for the holiday season, shoppers and businesses alike should be alert to the increased risk of counterfeit products that can spoil the festive cheer. 

Why it matters: Counterfeit versions of popular holiday gifts have been found to contain serious dangers, ranging from undisclosed choking and fire hazards to lead paint and high levels of mercury and arsenic.

➡️   The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development reports that international trade in counterfeit and pirated goods amounted to as much as $509 billion…wow!


Be smart: Here are 5 tips you can use to avoid counterfeit goods:

➡️   Trust your instincts: If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. So, if a deal or product seems off, it’s best to keep away. 

➡️   Prioritize secure payments: When shopping online, only buy from sites that begin with https:// — the ‘s’ stands for secure. Also, check for a lock symbol in your browser to confirm the site’s safety.   

➡️   Examine every detail: Pay close attention to labels, packaging, and contents. Watch out for out-of-date perishable items, broken or missing safety seals, missing warranty information, or unusual packaging. These could all be signs of fake goods. 

➡️   Protect your data: Keep all your devices, including computers and smartphones, updated with the latest cybersecurity protections to fend off any potential cyber threats. Stay alert to suspicious websites that could conceal harmful software.   

➡️    Say something: Spread awareness among your friends, family, and coworkers about counterfeit goods. If you encounter a fake good, report it to CBP<https://click.e.uschamberaction.com/?qs=b593cbdaaf9e2cb2bead6ea7317f0b2e49e75069c0495d65bb7fd9c2233c9855f1d93147c582327c90ca011b4af0d709b9b1520e429726292a975b9523ce6456> or the National IPR Center<https://click.e.uschamberaction.com/?qs=b593cbdaaf9e2cb27730005b51b22421225b9c56756c33881b6f73490e10f7e08debfca052fde55c423027d753ee19660a210f25bc9882a015d3a54da3b7765e>.

Your actions can make shopping safer and smarter for everyone! 

Image of people connected online in background with state of Georgia in foreground plus text saying "Georgia Gets An Upgrade."

This article was originally published on Newsbreak.com. Authored by Matt Lillywhite. Link: https://original.newsbreak.com/@matt-lillywhite-561024/3062302137293-governor-kemp-surprises-georgia-with-amazing-news

Governor Brian Kemp recently announced nearly $15 million in preliminary grant awards for broadband internet expansion via the Capital Projects Fund Grant Program. These grants will help communities, households, businesses, and anchor institutions in several Georgia counties improve their connectivity, per a press release by the Governor’s office.

Governor Kemp announced the establishment of the Capital Projects Fund Grant Program last year, which would use funds from the American Rescue Plan Act. The Georgia Technology Authority and the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget collaborated to identify the state’s most unserved and underserved counties and to establish a competitive grant process to receive applications for Governor Kemp’s consideration.

“Since day one, my administration has prioritized bringing opportunity to all parts of our state, including those areas often overlooked,” said Governor Kemp. “These projects are just the latest steps we’ve taken to connect Georgians in rural communities with professional and educational opportunities, building on the significant progress we have made in recent years to close the digital divide.”

According to a statement released by the Governor’s office, nearly $30 million will be invested to serve over 3,500 locations in areas most in need of high-speed internet access. These awards follow the state of Georgia’s announcement in January of $234 million in preliminary grant funds for 28 counties.

“High-speed internet access is critical for both academic and economic opportunities, as well as overall quality of life,” said Governor Kemp. “These projects announced today will go a long way to helping Georgians in some of the most unserved and underserved parts of the state become better connected.”

Key Take-Aways of this Announcement:

  • The goal is universal  broadband availability
  • The government is paying for almost all of it
  • This will mean more choices for business as well as home users 
  • The carriers will not tell customers about this, using an independent agent (like OTA) will give them all of the available options

Reach out to Online Technology Associates today to learn more, at no cost to you!

Complicated Highway OverPass System with text overlay: What's Complicated But Simple at the Same Time? The Future, My Friend!

What does the future hold for Telecom Services?

How can that be?  Well, as usual, there are many new products coming out – many more choices for you to choose from for your business or home – which makes choosing more complicated. Also, the providers are using new product names and company names, which makes our choosing more complicated! So, what’s the simple part you may ask?

Right now, there are many choices for businesses and several for most homes. The technology, performance, and cost can vary a lot! To make matters worse, it is quite difficult to tell what you are actually getting due to the providers intentionally using terms such as fiber, VoIP, secure, firewall in ways that can be very deceptive to the average consumer… For instance, cable providers use the term “fiber optic” to describe services that have little or no actual fiber in them, so you can’t distinguish “fiber service” from “cable service.” In the future, this will not be an issue since the major cable providers are working hard to convert the cable infrastructure to real fiber. So in the near future, say the next 10 years or so – there will be no cable service, so all wired services will be only fiber.

Let’s talk about Fiber service, the many types of fiber, and fiber providers…Which is the most reliable network: Shared or Dedicated? Broadband service, which is shared, is not going away, in fact, it is expanding rapidly. Government regulations are forcing the providers to share networks, which makes a lot more sense than tearing up the public infrastructure – AKA roads, sidewalks, and other utilities, multiple times so each fiber provider can have their own network installed. Providers are forced to share networks – so that makes it simpler. Also the new technology being used right now, these provider companies can use the same fiber trunks to provide different qualities of service at the same time… so much more simple!

Now we have 4G, 4G LTE, plus the many flavors of 5G… and 6G is already in the works. In the near future, these will all be consolidated into a single technology so all cellular devices will work on all cellular networks. Which is simpler, right? But we still have analog, cellular, digital, and VoIP phone traffic – these all require different equipment. We are already moving to an all VoIP or cellular infrastructure, so voice services will be simpler.

Technology has always been a double-edged sword. Out with the old and in with the new, means we have more functionality and more to learn! Reach out to Online Technology Associates to learn more, or just to chat about what’s available now and how to get your ducks in a row for what’s coming down the line.

Many office workers connected online.

What exactly is the difference in Fiber Connectivity for Business? – There are several Categories and Types, with the cost and quality of services varying greatly! Therefore, no single carrier or product is right for every business.

Dedicated or Broadband?

You may be familiar with the term, “Broadband”, but do you know what it means?  If not, then you aren’t alone…the Carriers and even the Trade use this term for very different products. One thing to know is that each internet circuit is either Broadband or Dedicated. Here are the differences: 

First, Dedicated refers to a custom-built circuit that can be used to access the public internet:

  • These are custom-built circuits – similar to having a private entrance ramp or having your own lane custom-built for just one particular customer.
  • Dedicated Circuits are much higher in quality and price than broadband services because they get their own lane to internet access!
  • Dedicated Circuits are cleaner and MUCH more secure than broadband services.
  • These circuits are also synchronous – meaning that the upload speeds are the same – up and down, day and night regardless of what other users down the street or across town are doing.
  • Since Dedicated Circuits are also cleaner – they are much more efficient, meaning there is less static and trash on the circuit – this is the reason Dedicated Circuits do not need as much speed as you would with a broadband circuit.

Think of it this way; you are trying to move a certain amount of data, the Dedicated Circuit is like an empty truck, everything in it is your data, whereas the broadband circuit is like a truck that is already 60% or more full of trash, so you need a bigger truck, much bigger to move the same amount of data.

On the other hand, there are Broadband Circuits:

  • Broadband Circuits are usually, but not always asynchronous – meaning that the upload and download speeds are different. Your Downloads (data you receive) are much faster than the Uploads, (data you send out). These Broadband Circuits were initially developed for residential use – where most of the activity is at-home users downloading and not doing much uploading.
  • Broadband services are also shared circuits, meaning they are much less secure and the performance you get is highly affected by other users in your neighborhoods and across the network.
  • While Dedicated Circuits have an SLA, or Service Level Agreement, meaning that the carrier guarantees uptime, the industry standard is 99.999 % uptime and guaranteed quality measured in latency and dropped packets – The Broadband products carry a “Best Effort” policy, meaning that the carrier will do its best to maintain service and quality, but no guarantees!
  • Cable circuits are always Broadband Circuits, but FIBER can be either Broadband or Dedicated Circuits!

As you would expect, there is a large difference in pricing between the Dedicated and Broadband services – and neither is best for every business. Unfortunately, there are no requirements that a data circuit be designated as one or the other – which means that catchy product names, such as “Business” or “High Speed” do not tell the full story. It is advisable to purchase from an independent consultant who will tell you exactly what you are purchasing…and that’s exactly who we are.

Confusing? Yep, we get that and are here to help you make sense of what your business does and does not need. Reach out to Online Technology Associates today for a consultation on your business needs!