When you picked up your smartphone this morning, you likely checked Facebook, perhaps laughing at the latest sketch from Stephen Colbert or Jimmy Fallon on YouTube. Perhaps you’ve binge-watched episodes of Stranger Things or The Crown on Netflix.
While using your laptop, you may have checked into a political message board, one that features potentially controversial points of view. If you are a small business owner, you could have updated your company’s website, booked a new client, or launched a new product or service. But all of these practices that we take for granted may be threatened when net neutrality rules expire in just a few weeks.
Without net neutrality rules, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) could choose to block content that they find objectionable. Or they could slow down competing for streaming video services like Netflix or YouTube. Or they could create internet fast lanes, which would allow larger companies to pay more for faster service, a move that would make life difficult for smaller businesses to compete.
Imagine being a painter or contractor. If a potential client can’t get to that business owner’s website within a few seconds, they move on. If that business has to pay more for access, they could have to increase their prices. In both cases, the small business owner would be punished. In communities with just a single broadband provider, this could prove to be more than a mild inconvenience. It could make the difference between your business failing or succeeding.
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While some have claimed that net neutrality protections are unnecessary, history tells us otherwise. In North Carolina in 2005, Madison River Communications, a small ISP based in Mebane, blocked the Internet telephone service Vonage. Vonage filed a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission, then under the leadership of George W. Bush appointee, Michael Powell, and the FCC sanctioned Madison River, which was forced to pay a small fine and to restore consumer access to Vonage.
Similarly, in 2012, Verizon was caught blocking people from using free online tethering applications, forcing their customers to pay $20 per month to turn their cell phones into mobile hotspots. More recently, in 2017, Verizon was accused of throttling — the intentional slowing or speeding of an internet service — when consumers reported that videos from Netflix and YouTube were slower than usual. Verizon attributed this to “network testing,” but without net neutrality protections, these practices could become common.
We also cannot rely on competition between ISPs. For most residential consumers, there is no meaningful choice when it comes to broadband providers. Only 12 percent of North Carolina’s rural residents have any choice when it comes to broadband internet access, creating a digital divide that would only be exacerbated if net neutrality principles are revoked.
Net neutrality protections haven’t officially expired yet. But the clock is ticking. The FCC revoked net neutrality rules in December and Congress has until April 23 to step up and reverse this unpopular decision. And although the vast majority of U.S. voters—approximately 80 percent according to a recent poll—support net neutrality, Congress seems unlikely to act. Net neutrality legislation is currently stalled in the Senate, and House has not yet put forth a bill.
This leaves it up to individual states to act. The easiest solution involves the use of state contracts. States could issue a decree stating that they will not do business with ISPs that violate net neutrality.
In a state like North Carolina, where we are still expanding broadband service to rural communities, this provision could place pressure on ISPs to follow net neutrality guidelines. Washington and Oregon have led the way, passing the first state laws that would reinstate net neutrality rules. Several other states, including Vermont, Hawaii, Montana, New Jersey, and New York have used executive orders.
But a legislative approach would carry even more weight. North Carolina has an opportunity to take the lead on this issue. Passing net neutrality rules will send the message that our state welcomes small businesses and technological innovators and that it wants to provide opportunities to succeed for all of its citizens across the state.
When you consider lengthy-term care, what’s the first component that involves thoughts? For many, it may be nursing homes or something associated with aging and increasing clinical wishes. In an extensive experience this is appropriate, however much has modified within the remaining decade or two with regard to options and how to fund them.
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Boomers (and the following era of retirees) need to devise for elderly care in a one-of-a-kind way than their parents as they may be dealing with the unclear destiny of entitlement blessings and rapidly growing medical charges. And they may be dwelling longer. When it involves making plans, many humans have the “it won’t occur to me” mindset, however, approximately 70 percent of human beings over age 65 will need some type of long-term care help during retirement.
The hard question that weighs on many human beings is how do you intend for those unforeseen expenses in order that they do not derail retirement? When making plans for care costs, you have got alternatives along with earmarking financial savings for clinical expenses or relying on entitlement advantages or circle of relatives.
Long-time period care coverage is any other option for human beings to consider. Over the past several years, insurance products have evolved with care options and tendencies. Today, almost half of-of benefits paid by using private insurers are for in-home care or assisted dwelling care. Whereas earlier than this coverage turned into by and large used to pay for skilled nursing care. Many current guidelines also pay the gain to the insured or insureds, not like many regulations in the past that paid a nursing facility immediately. To apprehend greater about the evolution of lengthy-term care, here is a deeper examine lengthy-time period care planning beyond and present:
Government applications: The silent generation (those born throughout the incredible despair and World War II), have been a number of the first to enjoy longer lifespans and the first to have to get admission to legit nursing care facilities. However, the query of whether or now not entitlements could be there was not a subject of conversation for this era. As more boomers attain retirement age, the capability of a pressure on authorities entitlement applications has ended up an growing subject as current benefits may not cowl maximum medical services someone will face.
Long-time period care coverage: With lengthy-term care coverage being a noticeably new idea, many parents of baby boomers probably did not take into account the capacity desires (and practical fees associated) of formal lengthy-term care. Since then, some of the options had been advanced by insurers to satisfy boomer’s needs, and over time, insurance features have evolved. Some of them consist of:
Straight long-term care coverage policies: These are regulations that pay again as much as each day or monthly maximum. The amount can be paid to the insured character, who can then pay the care company. The insured individual also can pick out to pay for the care provider to invoice the insurance business enterprise without delay.
Life insurance policies with a completely unique rider: Advanced gain riders may be relatively less expensive additions to a lifestyles insurance policy, and that they permit the dying gain (regularly up to ninety%) to be paid in advance of dying if the price range is needed for long-time period care. Whatever quantity is furnished to the insured is truely deducted from the demise gain while that man or woman passes away.
Policies that combine existence coverage and long-term care coverage into one coverage: Some coverage plan options may permit a lump sum premium to be paid for insurance that provides a mixture of advantages such as a dying advantage and the potential to increase most of that advantage for long-term care needs. These regulations might also even consist of a “right to rescind” the settlement wherein the coverage holder may additionally alternate his or her mind after a period of time and the entire top rate is refunded (if no advantage has been paid).
Family: Relying on the circle of relatives may look like the most effective option, and it is one which many humans select, every so often out of necessity. However, the emotional, bodily and economic stress on the circle of relatives participants worrying for a structured member of the family may be a very large project. If you plan to rely upon a circle of relatives participants to help your lengthy-term care needs, make sure to inform them well in advance to be able to create a plan to cope with your desires and desires.
A growing older individual who needs care can also select from many alternatives to assist offer or fund professional care such as family, government assets, self-insurance (if there are enough belongings) or personal coverage. Each of these options has a few merits, but in maximum cases, no unmarried alternative on its personnel will cover everything. It’s tough to predict what type of lengthy-time period care desires you may want, that’s why you may need to talk with an expert who can speak the alternatives to your unique state of affairs.