Glossary of Cable, Internet, and Phone Terms

A comprehensive glossary of terms you may come across when dealing with an internet, cable, or phone service provider.

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Numbers

3G: The term for the 3rd generation wireless telecommunications standards usually with network speeds of less than 1 Mbps. 

4G: The term for 4th generation wireless telecommunications standards usually with network speeds greater than 1 Mbps. 

5G: The term for emerging 5th generation wireless telecommunications standards that are usually associated with network speeds of up to 1 Gbps or more.


A

Access Channels: Cable channels, including public, educational, and governmental, made available to community members on a free or leased basis either with or without studio and production facilities. An Issuing Authority (governmental entity authorized to grant a cable license or franchise) may require that such channels be provided as part of a licensing agreement. The cable operator may not exercise editorial control over the programming on these channels, except that a cable operator may refuse to transmit any programming that contains obscenity or indecency.

Access Charge: A fee charged subscribers or other telephone companies by a local exchange carrier for the use of its local exchange networks.

Access Corporation: A corporation organized within a municipality for the purpose of operating that municipality's access channel(s).

ADSL (Asymmetrical Digital Subscriber Line): A form of Internet service communications technology that delivers constantly accessible data transmissions over copper telephone lines. ADSL is a common brand of DSL and has download speeds between 2 and 6 Mbps and upload speeds reaching 512 Kbps.

Analog: Technology originally designed for transmitting voice (e.g., telephones) where signals are sent as electromagnetic waves. For video service, the signal is sent from the television broadcaster to the local cable operator to the subscriber's home (compare Digital).

Analog Signal: A signaling method that uses continuous changes in the amplitude or frequency of a radio transmission to convey information.

Ascertainment: A process that affords the public an opportunity to comment and participate during the initial licensing of a cable operator or the renewal licensing of the incumbent cable operator. It is also a period of time for the Issuing Authority to gather data and review the cable operator's past and present performance and to identify the community's future cable-related needs and interests.

Asymmetrical Bandwidth: A connection in which the maximum transfer rate is different for download and upload speeds.

Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM): A transmission method where information is re-structured into cells. It is asynchronous due to the fact that the recurrence of cells from an individual user is not necessarily periodic.


B

Backbone: A major high-speed transmission line that strategically links smaller high-speed Internet networks across the globe.

Backhaul: The portion of a broadband network in which the local access or end-user point is linked to the main Internet network. 

Bandwidth: The capacity of a telecom line to carry signals. The necessary bandwidth is the amount of spectrum required to transmit the signal without distortion or loss of information. FCC rules require suppression of the signal outside the band to prevent interference.

Basic Service Tier (BST): Lowest level of service available and required by federal law to include, at a minimum, the retransmission of local television broadcast signals and local public access channels in the event programming in a community is subject to rate regulation, rates for the basic service tier are the only programming rates currently regulated.

Bit: A single unit of data, either a one or a zero. In the world of broadband, bits are used to refer to the amount of transmitted data. A kilobit (Kb) is approximately 1,000 bits. A megabit (Mb) is approximately 1,000,000 bits.  

Broadband: The term broadband commonly refers to high-speed Internet access that is always on and faster than traditional dial-up access. Broadband includes several high-speed transmission technologies, such as fiber, wireless, satellite, digital subscriber line, and cable. For the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), broadband capability requires consumers to have access to actual download speeds of at least 25 Mbps and actual upload speeds of at least 3 Mbps.

Broadband Adoption: The use of broadband in places where it is available, measured as the percentage of households that use broadband in such areas. Link to Digital Inclusion definition

Broadband Over Powerline (BPL): A theoretical technology that would provide broadband service over existing electrical power lines. 

Broadband Passive Optical Network (BPON): BPON is a point-to-multipoint fiber-lean architecture network system that uses passive splitters to deliver signals to multiple users. Instead of running a separate strand of fiber from the CO to every customer, BPON uses a single strand of fiber to serve up to 32 subscribers.  

Burstable: Authorizes a connection to exceed its specified speed, normally up to a set maximum capacity for a period of time.

Burst Speed: A method that momentarily allots additional bandwidth to consumers’ services for short periods of time.


C

Cable Advisory Committee (“CAC”): The CAC is appointed by the Issuing Authority (government entity authorized to grant a cable license or franchise) and its role varies according to the authority defined by the Issuing Authority. Its main responsibility is to negotiate cable licenses with operators and oversee the ascertainment process. In addition, the CAC acts as liaison to the cable operator by supervising the cable operator's response to complaints, responding to residents' questions regarding the cable system, and staying abreast of community programming issues.

CableCARD: A CableCARD (or point-of-deployment module) allows a consumer to access cable programming using a digital cable-ready television set or a retail set-top box (navigation device) instead of renting a set-top box from a cable operator. Cable operators must provide subscribers with CableCARDs upon request.

Central Office: A telecommunication company’s building where consumers’ phone lines are attached to equipment that connects a consumer to other consumers in that central office or other central offices across the globe.

California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC): The organization mandated by the state Constitution to regulate public utilities in California. 

California Teleconnect Fund (CCTF): A public program that provides subsidizes phone and data service to schools, hospitals, CBOs, and other qualified institutions in California. Benefits are calculated net of E-rate federal subsidy.

Calling Party Pays: A billing method in which a wireless phone caller pays only for making calls and not for receiving them. The standard American billing system requires wireless phone customers to pay for all calls made and received on a wireless phone.

Cellular Technology: This term, often used for all wireless phones regardless of the technology they use, derives from cellular base stations that receive and transmit calls. Both cellular and PCS phones use cellular technology.

Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN): Authorization given by the CPUC to telecommunications carriers in order to provide service in the state of California.

Closed Captioning: A service for persons with hearing disabilities that translates television program dialog into written words on the television screen.

Coarse Wavelength Division Multiplexing (CWDM): is generally held to be WDM with less than 8 active wavelengths per fiber.

Commercial Leased Access: Manner through which independent video producers can access cable capacity for a fee.

Common Carrier: In the telecommunications arena, the term is used to describe a telephone company.

Community Access Television (CATV):  Also known as Public Broadcasting, it describes channels that are set aside for non-commercial broadcasting to community groups or members. 

Communications Assistant: A person who facilitates telephone conversation between text telephone users, users of sign language, or individuals with speech disabilities through a Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS). This service allows a person with hearing or speech disabilities to communicate with anyone else via telephone at no additional cost.

Community Anchor Institutions: Schools, libraries, medical and healthcare providers, public safety entities, institutes of higher education, and other community support organizations that provide outreach, access, equipment, and support services to facilitate greater use of broadband service by the entire population and local governments. 

Community Antenna Television (CATV): A service through which subscribers pay to have local television stations and additional programs brought into their homes from an antenna via a coaxial cable. The acronym CATV is also often used to describe Cable Television and Community Access Television.

Community-Based Organizations (CBO): Groups serving a community that are eligible for California Teleconnect Fund (CTF) Subsidy.  

Community Needs Assessment: An assessment of the deficiencies that exist in a community that is preventing it from reaching goals or desired results relating to broadband. 

Competitive Access Provider (CAP): Also known as a “Bypass Carrier," it is a company that provides network links between the customer and the Inter-Exchange Carrier or even directly to the Internet Service Provider. CAPs operate private networks independent of Local Exchange Carriers. Not to be confused with " Data Cap"

Competitive Local Exchange Carrier (CLEC): Wireline service provider that is authorized under state and federal rules to compete with ILECs to provide local telephone service. CLECs provide telephone services in one of three ways or a combination thereof: 

a) by building or rebuilding telecommunications facilities of their own, 

b) by leasing capacity from another local telephone company (typically an ILEC) and reselling it, and 

c) by leasing discreet parts of the ILEC network referred to as UNEs. 

Coaxial Cable: A type of wiring that is widely used in the cable television industry and can carry voice, data, and video simultaneously. The coaxial (or “coax”) cable consists of an inner conductor on which signal voltage is impressed with respect to the shield. The center conductor is surrounded by a dielectric, then a shield. Frequently, an insulation layer surrounds the shield.

Converter: Equipment authorized by and often provided by a cable operator for a fee that allows access or controls interference to cable services. Digital converters use computer technology and provide two-way transmission resulting in access to digital programming and interactive services, such as the on-screen purchase of pay-per-view movies and on-screen television guides (see also Set-Top Box).

Cramming: A practice in which customers are billed for enhanced features and services that they have not ordered.


D

Dark Fiber: Fiber that is in place but not being used for broadband services. (“non-lit” fiber, also see “Lit Fiber”).

Data Cap: Also known as "Broadband Cap" or "Bandwidth Cap" refers to limits imposed on the amount of data a user can use during a regular billing cycle before service is throttled, turned off, or begins to incur extra charges.

Demarcation Point:  The term Demarcation Point refers to a point on the cable wiring located, in the case of a single residence, approximately 12 inches outside of a subscriber’s home or, in the case of a multi-dwelling unit building, at the point where the wiring is first physically accessible outside of the subscriber’s unit. On the subscriber’s side of the Demarcation Point, the wiring is called Cable Home Wiring and the subscriber is responsible for costs associated with maintaining the Cable Home Wiring. The provider is responsible for the maintenance of the cable wiring on the other side of the Demarcation Point. 

Data Local Exchange Carrier (DLEC): DLECs deliver high-speed access to the Internet, not voice. 

Data Over Cable System Interface Specification (DOCSIS): The international telecommunications standard for cable signaling data and spectrum sharing.

Deaf and Disabled Telephone Program (DDTP): A public program that provides benefits, including specialized equipment, to qualified California disabled customers.

Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM): A SONET term that is the means of increasing the capacity of SONET fiber-optic transmission systems.

Designated Market Area (DMA): Standard established by Nielsen Media Research used to determine a broadcast station's market area. The FCC adopted this standard under which broadcast stations are given options of carriage by either selecting mandatory carriage (must carry) or retransmission consent (may carry) for each cable system operating within the broadcast station's DMA.

Dial Around: Long-distance services that require consumers to dial a long-distance provider’s access code (or "10-10" number) before dialing a long-distance number to bypass or "dial around" the consumer’s chosen long-distance carrier in order to get a better rate.

Dial-Up: A technology that provides customers with access to the Internet over an existing telephone line.

Digital: Computer technology that transmits signals by breaking up the message into electronic bits, sending the message over the network, and recreating the message at the other end. Since the signal is recreated at the end location, the system is less sensitive to interference such as noise and snow. In addition, digital technology allows for compression so that more channels can be carried. Often cable operators who utilize digital technology will offer digital cable television, high-speed data (Internet), and digital telephone services such as Voice over Internet Protocol (compare Analog).

Digital Divide: The gap between those of a populace that has access to the Internet and other communications technologies and those that have limited or no access. 

Digital Equity: Recognizes that digital access and skills are now required for full participation in many aspects of society and the economy. Digital Equity links Digital Inclusion to social justice and highlights that a lack of access and/or skills can further isolate individuals and communities from a broad range of opportunities. 

Digital Inclusion: Implies that individuals and communities have access to robust broadband connections; Internet-enabled devices that meet their needs; and the skills to explore, create and collaborate in the digital world. 

Digital Literacy: The ability to leverage current technologies, such as smartphones and laptops, and Internet access to perform research, create content and interact with the world.

Digital Skills: Any skills related to operating digital devices or taking advantage of digital resources.

Digital Subscriber Line (DSL): A form of technology that utilizes a two-wire copper telephone line to allow users to simultaneously connect to and operate the Internet and the telephone network without disrupting either connection.

Digital Subscriber Line Access Multiplier (DSLAM): A piece of technology installed at a telephone company’s CO and connects the carrier to the subscriber loop (and ultimately the customer’s PC).

Digital Television (DTV): Technology for transmitting and receiving broadcast television signals. DTV provides clearer resolution and improved sound quality.

Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS/DISH): A high-powered satellite that transmits or retransmits signals which are intended for direct reception by the public. The signal is transmitted to a small earth station or dish (usually the size of an 18-inch pizza pan) mounted on homes or other buildings.

Distant Signal: A television channel from another market (DMA) imported and carried locally by a cable television system, e.g., "Superstation" WPIX Channel 11, New York.

Downstream: Data flowing from the Internet to a computer (Surfing the net, getting E-mail, downloading a file).


E

Early Termination Fee (“ETF”): A fee that you agree to pay to a service provider if you end a service contract before it expires. ETFs are included in contracts for a variety of services including cable service and satellite TV. Depending on your service plan, there may be no ETF. While ETFs are generally pro-rated over the term of the contract, they don’t all decrease at the same rate.

Easement: An easement is the right to use the real property of another for a specific purpose. The easement is itself a real property interest, but legal title to the underlying land is retained by the original owner for all other purposes. Typical easements are for access to another property for utility or sewer lines both under and above ground. Easements can be created by a deed to be recorded just like any real property interest. 

Effective Competition: A determination by the Federal Communications Commission ("FCC") that there is sufficient competition to control basic service tier ("BST") rates in a given community and thus government rate regulation is no longer required. If the FCC grants a cable operator's petition for a determination of effective competition, the FCC revokes the Department’s authority to regulate rates for the cable operator in that municipality.

eGovernment Services: The government’s use of web-based and information technology resources to connect with citizens and provide online services and resources.

E-mail: Also called electronic mail, refers to messages sent over the Internet. E-mail can be sent and received via newer types of wireless phones, but you generally need to have a specific e-mail account.

Enhanced Service Provider: A for-profit business that offers to transmit voice and data messages and simultaneously adds value to the messages it transmits. Examples include telephone answering services, alarm/security companies, and transaction processing companies.

En Banc: An informal meeting held by the Commission to hear presentations on specific topics by diverse parties. The Commissioners, or other officials, question presenters and use their comments in considering FCC rules and policies on the subject matter under consideration.

E-Rate: A Federal program that provides subsidies for voice and data lines to qualified schools, hospitals, CBOs, and other qualified institutions. The subsidy is based on a percentage designated by the FCC. CTF benefits are calculated net of the E-rate subsidy.

Ethernet Optical Network (EON): The use of Ethernet LAN packets running over a fiber network.

Equal Opportunity Rule: If a political candidate obtains time on a broadcast station, other candidates for the same office may obtain an "equal opportunity" on that station. Equal opportunity usually includes equal time, but the term means more than equal time. For example, it means the right to obtain time in a period likely to attract approximately the same size audience as the period in which the opposing candidate appeared. Bonafide news programming is exempt, meaning that a news program may determine one candidate is especially newsworthy on a specific occasion and does not need to provide equal coverage or opportunity to the other candidate(s). The equal opportunity rule applies to local origination channels and broadcast channels; it does not apply to access channels that are handled on a first-come-first-served, nondiscriminatory basis.

Evolution Data Only (EvDO): EvDO is a wireless technology that provides data connections that are 10 times as fast as a regular modem. 


F

Federal Communications Commission (FCC): Federal agency responsible for the regulatory oversight of the communications infrastructure in the United States.

Fiber (Also referred to as Fiber Strand): A flexible hair-thin glass or plastic strand that is capable of transmitting large amounts of data at high transfer rates as pulses or waves of light. 

Fiber to the Building (FTTB): A fiber-optic system that connects directly from the carrier network to the user's building.

Fiber to the Home (FTTH): The delivery and connection of fiber optics directly to a home.

Fiber to the Neighborhood (FTTN): A hybrid network architecture involving optical fiber from the carrier network, terminating in a neighborhood cabinet with converts the signal from optical to electrical.

Fiber to the Premise (FTTP): The delivery and connection of fiber optics directly to premises.

Fixed Wireless Broadband Access: The use of wireless devices/systems in connecting two fixed locations, such as offices or homes. The connections occur through the air, rather than through fiber, resulting in a less expensive alternative to a fiber connection.

Franchise Fee: Under federal law, non-capital costs relating to cable license requirements are considered franchise fees and may be passed on to subscribers. For example, local officials, in negotiating the cable license, may require cable operators to set aside channels for public, educational, or governmental use. The monies spent to maintain the access studio, equipment, and personnel are considered franchise fees and may be passed on to subscribers. A municipality may request up to five percent of the cable operator's annual gross revenue from operating in the municipality.

Franchise-Related Costs (also referred to as FRCs): Any capital expenses incurred by the cable operator as a result of required public, educational, and governmental channels, such as purchasing or upgrading access equipment and facilities. These franchise-related costs may be recovered from subscribers through basic service tier rates and may be listed as a separate fee on subscribers' monthly bills.

Franchising Authority: Legal term for governmental entity authorized to regulate rates, oversee the licensing process, and enforce customer service standards. In Massachusetts, the Department is the Franchising Authority (compare Issuing Authority) for purposes of rate regulation. 

Frequency Modulation (FM): A signaling method that varies the carrier frequency in proportion to the amplitude of the modulating signal.


G

Gigabits per second (Gbps): A measure of how fast data can be transmitted. Equivalent to 1,000,000,000 bits per second.

Gigabyte-Capable Passive Optical Network (GPON): GPON uses a different, faster approach (up to 2.5 Gbit/s in current products) than BPON.

Global Positioning System (GPS): A US satellite system that lets those on the ground, on the water, or in the air determine their position with extreme accuracy using GPS receivers.

Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM): This is the current radio/telephone standard in Europe and many other countries except Japan and the United States.


H

Headend: The electronic control center of a cable system. This is the site of the receiving antenna and the signal processing equipment essential to the proper functioning of a cable system.

High-Definition Television (HDTV): An improved television system that provides approximately twice the vertical and horizontal resolution of traditional television standards. It also provides greater audio quality.

Homes Passed: Those homes within a municipality that are located close enough to a cable line to be able to connect with cable service, regardless of whether those households actually opt to subscribe to the cable service.

Hybrid Fiber Coaxial Network (HFCN): An outside plant distribution cabling concept employing both fiber optic and coaxial cable.


I

Incumbent Local Exchange Carrier (ILEC): The traditional wireline telephone service providers within defined geographic areas. Prior to 1996, ILECs operated as monopolies having the exclusive right and responsibility for providing local and local toll telephone service within LATAs. ILECs include regional Bell operating companies such as SBC and non-Bell affiliated companies such as SureWest, both in California.

Inside Wiring Rules: FCC regulations governing the disposition of cable wiring inside multi-dwelling unit (MDU) buildings. These rules are designed to enhance competition among video service providers by making existing wiring in MDUs available under certain circumstances for competing providers’ use. The FCC’s inside wiring rules may be found at 47 C.F.R. §§ 76.800 et seq.

Institutional Network (also referred to as I-Net): A separate closed-loop network for municipal institutional use only. Used to connect police, fire departments, town or city hall, and schools; can contain both video and data; can also be used to monitor heat, light, and security systems.

Instructional Television Fixed Service (ITFS): A service provided by one or more fixed microwave stations operated by an educational organization and used to transmit instructional information to fixed locations.

Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN): An alternative method to simultaneously carry voice, data, and other traffic, using the switched telephone network.

Interactive Video Data Service (IVDS): A communication system, operating over a short distance, that allows nearly instantaneous two-way responses by using a hand-held device at a fixed location. 

Interconnection: The linking of numerous telecommunications networks to exchange user traffic. 

Internet Protocol - Virtual Private Network (IP-VPN): Also known as a VPN. A software-defined network offering the appearance, functionality, and usefulness of a dedicated private network.

Internet Service Provider (ISP): A company that provides users (individuals or businesses) with access (a connection) to the Internet and related services.


K

Kilobits per second (Kbps): 1,000 bits per second. A measure of how fast data can be transmitted.


L

Landline: Traditional wired phone service.

Land Mobile Service: A public or private radio service providing two-way communication, paging, and radio signaling on land.

Last Mile: The technology and process of connecting the end customer’s home or business to the local network provider

License or Franchise: An agreement between the Issuing Authority and the cable operator that authorizes the construction or operation of a cable system. It also establishes the terms and conditions of cable television service such as the length of the contract, customer service standards, and procedures for funding access channels. Under various state laws, the term of an initial license may differ.

License Amendment: Formal change in the terms and conditions of an existing license.

License Fee: The fee per subscriber per year that cable operators are required to pay various state governments by law to offset the cost of regulation. 

Line Extension: Construction of a cable line in an area that falls outside or exceeds the primary service area as defined in the license. The cable operator may require that subscribers pay for the extra costs involved in laying cable to this geographical area. (See also Primary Service Area; compare Non-Standard Installation).

Lit Fiber: An active fiber optic cable capable of transmitting data.

Local Access and Transport Areas (LATA): A geographic area within with a divested Regional Bell Operating Company is permitted to offer exchange telecommunications and exchange access service. Calls between LATAs are often thought of as long-distance service. Calls within a LATA (IntraLATA) typically include local and local toll services. 

Local Area Network (LAN): A group of network devices that are on a high-speed connection and typically within the same building or location. 

Local Loop: A generic term for the connection between the customer’s premises (home, office, etc.) and the provider’s serving central office. Historically, this has been a wire connection; however, wireless options are increasingly available for local loop capacity.

Local Multipoint Distribution Service (LMDS): A wireless broadband service that uses microwave signals to render communications service – voice, data, Internet – to customers within the last mile.

Long Term Evolution (LTE): A 4G wireless broadband technology that provides speeds up to 100 Mbps download and 30 Mbps upload.

Low-Power FM Radio (LPFM): A broadcast service that permits the licensing of 50-100 watt FM radio stations within a service radius of up to 3.5 miles and 1-10 watt FM radio stations within a service radius of 1 to 2 miles.

Low-Power Television (LPTV): A broadcast service that permits program origination, subscription service, or both via low-powered television translators. LPTV service includes the existing translator service and operates on a secondary basis to regular television stations. The transmitter output is limited to 1,000 watts for normal VHF stations and 100 watts when a VHF operation is on an allocated channel.


M

Megabits per second (Mbps): A measure of how fast data can be transmitted. Equivalent to 1,000,000 bits per second. 

Metropolitan Area Network (MAN): A high-speed date intra-city network that links multiple locations with campus, city, or LATA. A MAN typically extends as far as 50 kilometers.

Middle Mile: The connection between a local network, also called a “last mile” connection, and the backbone Internet network.

Must Carry: Refers to situations where commercial and noncommercial television broadcast stations are considered local to the area served, and therefore the cable operator is required to provide the channel on the basic service tier in that area.


N

Network: Any connection of two or more computers that enables them to communicate. Networks may include transmission devices, servers, cables, routers, and satellites. The phone network is the total infrastructure for transmitting phone messages.

Network Infrastructure: The hardware and software components of a network that provide network connectivity and allow the network to function.

Non-Duplication Rules: Restrictions placed on cable television systems that prohibit the cable operator from providing programming from outside the service area if the programming is simultaneously available on a local channel.

Non-Standard Installation: Installation of cable service or a drop line that exceeds the standard installation distance specified in the license, which is typically greater than 150 feet from the cable line existing on a public road. The cable operator may charge the subscriber for the costs of laying the cable this extra distance (compare Line Extension).

Number Portability: A term used to describe the capability of individuals, businesses, and organizations to retain their existing telephone number(s) – and the same quality of service – when switching to a new local service provider.


O

Obscenity and Indecency: The United States Supreme Court set forth a three-prong test to be used in determining whether individual programming constitutes obscene or indecent speech. More information may be found on a fact sheet at the FCC's website.

Open Access Network: Networks that offer wholesale access to network infrastructure or services provided on fair and reasonable terms with some degree of transparency and nondiscrimination. 

Open Video Systems (OVS): OVS is a new option for those looking to offer cable television services outside the current framework of traditional regulation. It would allow more flexibility in providing service by reducing the build-out requirements of new carriers.

Operator Service Provider (OSP): A common carrier that provides services from public phones. This includes live or automated operator functions.

Optical Line Terminal (OLT): A device located in the CO or hut, is the interface to the customer and provides the subscribed services.

Optical Network Terminal (ONT): A device located at the customer/subscribers location, converts the optical media being sent by the OLT.

Overbuild: When a competing cable operator builds a cable network system in an area already serviced by a cable operator, this competing cable operator is known as an overbuilder. 


P

Paging System: A one-way mobile radio service where a user carries a small, lightweight miniature radio receiver capable of responding to coded signals. These devices, called "pagers," emit an audible signal, vibrate or do both when activated by an incoming message.

Parental Lock Capability: Option or feature available on some televisions that allows a user to block access to channels usually by activating a PIN number and programming a TV or cable set-top box t to limit or control the programs that can be viewed on your TV (see V-Chip).

Pass-Through Costs: Certain costs that may be recovered directly from subscribers (see Franchise Fee and License Fee).

Passive Optical Network (PON): A Passive Optical Network consists of an optical line terminator located at the Central Office and a set of associated optical network terminals located at the customer’s premise. Between them lies the optical distribution network comprised of fibers and passive splitters or couplers. In a PON network, a single piece of fiber can be run from the serving exchange out to a subdivision or office park, and then individual fiber strands to each building or serving equipment can be split from the main fiber using passive splitters/couplers. This allows for an expensive piece of fiber cable from the exchange to the customer to be shared amongst many customers thereby dramatically lowering the overall costs of deployment for fiber to the business (FTTB) or fiber to the home (FTTH) applications.

Pay-Per-View: Programming, typically movies or special events, that a subscriber specifically requests to receive for a single fee added to the monthly cable bill. Some cable operators have the capability of determining whether the pay-per-view program was purchased via telephone or by on-screen interactive remote control and whether the converter channel was then set on the appropriate movie channel in order to receive the programming. Rates for pay-per-view programming are not regulated.

PEG: Public, educational, and governmental channels (see Access Channels).

Personal Communications Service (PCS): Any of several types of wireless, voice, and/or data communications systems, typically incorporating digital technology. PCS licenses are most often used to provide services similar to advanced cellular mobile or paging services. However, PCS can also be used to provide other wireless communications services, including services that allow people to place and receive communications while away from their home or office, as well as wireless communications to homes, office buildings, and other fixed locations.

Point of Presence: The particular place or facility where local Internet service providers connect to other networks. Distance from the Point of Presence can affect service availability and pricing. 

Premium Channels: Channels not included in a cable operator's regular service tiers. HBO and Showtime are examples of premium channels. In order to obtain premium channels, cable operators may require that the subscriber purchase the basic service tier, rent or purchase a converter box, and pay additional fees. Rates for premium channels are not regulated.

Prescribed Interexchange Charge (PICC): The charge the local exchange company assesses the long-distance company when a consumer picks it as his or her long-distance carrier.

Promotional Price or Promotional Rate: A promotional price or rate is a discounted price or rate commonly offered by a cable or bundled services provider for a limited period of time (the “promotional period”). Upon the termination of the promotional period, the price or rate of the service changes (the “subsequent price”). Subscribers should ensure they understand the promotional price, the termination date of the promotional period, and the subsequent price before purchasing services.

Public Computer Center (PCC): A facility that is open to the public and provides broadband access, education, support, and training relevant to community needs. PCC locations include, but are not limited to, community colleges, libraries, schools, youth centers, employment service centers, Native American chapter houses, community centers, senior centers, assistive technology centers for people with disabilities, community health centers, and centers in public housing developments that provide broadband access to the general public or specific vulnerable populations, such as low-income, unemployed, older adults, children, minorities and people with disabilities.


R

Renewal Proposal: Application presented by a cable operator to a municipality setting forth its plan regarding the rights and responsibilities of both parties in providing cable services to the municipality. It typically outlines the cable operator's recommended terms and conditions for the renewal license. 

Resilient Packet Ring (RPR): RPR uses Ethernet switching and a dual counter-rotating ring topology to provide SONET-like network resiliency and optimized bandwidth usage while delivering multi-point Ethernet/IP services. 

Request for Proposal (also referred to as RFP): Documentation provided to cable operator(s) by a municipality seeking to initiate original licensing or renewal process. It outlines what the municipality expects the cable operator(s) to include in the proposed license and includes questions that require the cable operator's response.

Retransmission Consent: Cable operators are required by law to obtain the broadcaster’s consent in order to retransmit local commercial and noncommercial television stations.

Rights-of-Way (ROW): ROW are legal rights to pass through property owned by another. ROW are frequently used to secure access to land for digging trenches, deploying fiber, constructing towers, and deploying equipment on existing towers and utility poles.

Roaming: The use of a wireless phone outside of the "home" service area defined by a service provider. Higher per-minute rates are usually charged for calls made or received while roaming. Long-distance rates and a daily access fee may also apply.

Rural Utility Service (RUS): A division of the United States Department of Agriculture, it promotes universal service in unserved and underserved areas of the country with grants, loans, and financing.


S

Satellite: A radio relay station that orbits the earth. A complete satellite communications system also includes earth stations that communicate with each other via the satellite. The satellite receives a signal transmitted by an originating earth station and retransmits that signal to the destination earth station(s). Satellites are used to transmit telephone, television, and data signals originated by common carriers, broadcasters, and distributors of cable TV program material.

Satellite Home Viewer Improvement Act of 1999 (SHVIA): An Act modifying the Satellite Home Viewer Act of 1988, SHVIA permits satellite companies to provide local broadcast TV signals to all subscribers who reside in the local TV station’s market. SHVIA also permits satellite companies to provide "distant" network broadcast stations to eligible satellite subscribers.

Satellite Master Antenna Television (SMATV): A satellite dish system used to deliver signals to multiple dwelling units (e.g., apartment buildings and trailer parks).

Scanner: A radio receiver that moves across a wide range of radio frequencies and allows audiences to listen to any of the frequencies.

Service Area: The entire area within which a service provider either offers or intends to offer broadband service.

Service Plan: The rate plan you select when choosing a wireless phone service. A service plan typically consists of a monthly base rate for access to the system and a fixed amount of minutes per month.

Service Provider: A telecommunications provider that owns circuit switching equipment.

Service Tier: Grouping of cable channels for which a separate rate is charged by the cable operator.

Set-Top Box: Equipment authorized by and often provided by a cable operator in a subscriber's home that allows access to or controls interference from cable services (see also Converter).

Signal Scrambling: Cable television companies typically encrypt or scramble the signal of channels that the subscriber has not purchased so only people who pay for the service will receive and view it.

Slamming: The term used to describe what occurs when a customer’s long-distance service is switched from one long-distance company to another without the customer’s permission. Such unauthorized switching violates FCC rules.

Small System: A small system is defined by Federal Regulations as "a cable television system that serves 15,000 or fewer subscribers. The service area of a small system shall be determined by the number of subscribers that are served by the system's principal headend, including any other headends or microwave receive sites that are technically integrated to the principal headend." 47 C.F.R. § 76.901(c).

Spectrum: The range of electromagnetic radio frequencies used in the transmission of sound, data, and television. These waves propagate through space at different radio frequencies, and the set of all possible frequencies is called the electromagnetic spectrum.

Splitter: A passive device that splits the light source into separate paths.

Streaming: Technology that downloads low-bit text data first, then the higher-bit graphics and video. This allows users to read the text of an Internet document first, rather than wait for the entire file to load.

Subscriber Line Charge (SLC): A monthly fee paid by telephone subscribers that is used to compensate the local telephone company for part of the cost of installation and maintenance of the telephone wire, poles, and other facilities that link your home to the telephone network. These wires, poles, and other facilities are referred to as the "local loop." The SLC is one component of access charges.

Subscribership: Subscribership is how many customers have subscribed for a particular telecommunications service. 

Switched Network: A domestic telecommunications network usually accessed by telephones, key telephone systems, private branch exchange trunks, and data arrangements.

Symmetrical (SDSL): A technology that permits the transfer of data over copper telephone lines. The transmission bandwidth for uploads and downloads is equal. 

Synchronous Optical Network (SONET): An American National Standards Institute standard for the simultaneous transmission of data over optical fiber.


T

Tariff: The documents filed by a carrier describing their services and the payments to be charged for such services.

Tax Increment Financing: A public financing method through which future property tax increases can be diverted to subsidize community development and improvement projects. 

Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS): A free service that enables persons with TTYs, individuals who use sign language, and people who have speech disabilities to use telephone services by having a third party transmit and translate the call.

Telemedicine: The use of high-speed, high-capacity Internet to support long-distance healthcare services, patient and provider education, and enhanced healthcare administration.

Telephony: The word used to describe the science of transmitting voice over a telecommunications network.

Tier 1 Internet Network: A network of Internet providers that form a superhighway that allows users access to every other network on the Internet.

Tier 2 Internet Network: A network of smaller Internet providers that allow users to reach some portion of the Internet but that still purchase IP transit.

Tier 3 Internet Network: A network that solely purchases transit/peering from other networks to participate in the Internet.

Trunk Level 1 (T-1): A digital transmission link with a total signaling speed of 1.544 Mbps. It is a standard for digital transmission in North America.

Trunk Level 3 (T-3): 28 T1 lines or 44.736 Mbps.

TTY: A type of machine that allows people with hearing or speech disabilities to communicate over the phone using a keyboard and a viewing screen. It is sometimes called a TDD.


U

Unbundling: The term used to describe the access provided by local exchange carriers so that other service providers can buy or lease portions of its network elements, such as interconnection loops, to serve subscribers.

Universal Service (Also known as Universal Lifeline Telephone Service): The financial mechanism which helps compensate telephone companies or other communications entities for providing access to telecommunications services at reasonable and affordable rates throughout the country, including rural, insular, and high costs areas, and to public institutions. Companies, not consumers, are required by law to contribute to this fund. The law does not prohibit companies from passing this charge on to customers.

Upstream: Data flowing from your computer to the Internet (sending E-mail, uploading a file).


V

V-Chip: System built into TVs that allows users to screen out, based on television ratings, programs they do not want household members to watch. Those subscribers with older TVs may need to purchase a set-top box that utilizes V-Chip technology in order to access this feature (see Parental Lock Capability).

Very High Data Rate Digital Subscriber Line (VDSL): Technology that employs an asymmetric form of ADSL, with projected speeds of up to 155 Mbps.

Very High Frequency (VHF): The part of the radio spectrum from 30 to 300 megahertz, which includes TV Channels 2-13, the FM broadcast band, and some marine, aviation, and land mobile services.

Video Description: An audio narration for television viewers who are blind or visually disabled, which consists of verbal descriptions of key visual elements in a television program, such as settings and actions not reflected in the dialog. Narrations are inserted into the program’s natural pauses and are typically provided through the Secondary Audio Programming channel.

Video On Demand: A service that allows users to remotely choose a movie from a digital library and be able to pause, fast-forward, or even rewind their selection.

Virtual Local Area Network (VLAN): A network of computers that behave as if they are connected to the same wire even though they may actually be physically located on different segments of a LAN.

Virtual Private Network (VPN): A software-defined network offering the appearance, functionality, and usefulness of a dedicated private network.

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP): A technology that allows users to send and receive voice calls using an Internet connection instead of a phone line.


W

WiFi (Wireless Fidelity): A technology that uses radio transmissions to enable electronic devices to connect to a wireless local area network (LAN). 

WiMAX: A wireless technology through which wireless Internet access is provided with a significantly larger range than regular WiFi. WiMAX can provide broadband service up to 30 miles.

Wireless: Telephone service transmitted via cellular, PCS, satellite, or other technologies that do not require the telephone to be connected to a land-based line. 

Wireless Internet: 1) Internet applications and access using mobile devices such as cell phones and handheld devices. 2) Broadband Internet service provided via a wireless connection, such as satellite or tower transmitters. 

Wireless Internet Service Provider (WISP): An ISP that provides service through a wireless network.

Wireline: Service based on infrastructure on or near the ground, such as copper telephone wires or coaxial cable underground or on telephone poles.




Sources:

  • Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved from https://www.fcc.gov/general/national-broadband-plan 
  • Newton, H. (2009). Newton’s Telecom Dictionary 217 (25th ed) Retrieved from https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-12-46A1.pdf 
  • Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission. Retrieved from http://www.puc.state.pa.us/consumer_info/telecommunications/area_codes/telecommunications_dictionary_.aspx 
  • National Telecommunications & Information Administration. Retrieved from https://www.ntia.doc.gov/ 
  • Closing the Digital Divide. Retrieved from http://www.dallasfed.org/assets/documents/cd/pubs/digitaldivide.pdf 
  • Office of the Secretary USDA Glossary of Terms and Acronyms. Retrieved from http://www.osec.doc.gov/oam/archive/docs/Chapter%203%20012011.pdf 
  • American National Standards Institute. Retrieved from https://www.ansi.org/ 
  • Field, MJ. (1996). Telemedicine: A Guide to Assessing Telecommunications in Health Care. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK45440/
  • Broadband USA  https://broadbandusa.ntia.doc.gov/sites/default/files/publication-pdfs/bbusa_broadband_glossary.pdf
  • California State Gov https://docs.cpuc.ca.gov/word_pdf/FINAL_DECISION/46428_D0505013_BBReport_Appendix_C.PDF

The World Is Getting Their Daily Dose of Internet During COVID-19

While the nation may be on lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, people are getting their daily dose of internet. Explore how usage has changed.

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The World Is Getting Their Daily Dose of Internet During COVID-19

The World Is Getting Their Daily Dose of Internet During COVID-19


The Internet is by far one of the most useful tools for business, research, and general productivity. Due to the COVID-19 lockdown, though, Internet usage has vastly changed within a short period of time.

Browsing habits, online sales, and general behavior are far different than they once were, and the Internet is now more important than ever before. But, not everyone knows as much as they should.

Not sure where to start? Don't worry, we've got you covered.

Let's take a look at everything you need to know about how the Coronavirus has changed Internet use.

The Rise of Video Chat

With the nationwide social distancing guidelines in place, it's illegal for gatherings to take place. This means that anywhere that would typically experience crowds (such as bars, venues, or parks) has been shut down. Without a place to meet in-person, people have resorted to video chat in order to maintain their social connections.

Due to the ease of video calls and the level of intimacy they provide (two friends on a Facetime call often feel plenty socially connected, for example), this form of communication has seen a spike in popularity that transcends its necessity. Today, it's not uncommon for large groups of friends to join a chat simultaneously even while they're engaging in other activities.

Similarly, people have developed a reignited interest in neighborhood apps that allow people who live in the same community to discuss issues, report suspicious activity, etc. The same can be said about dating apps, which people are using for much longer periods of time to get to know one another since most public places are closed down.

Put simply, people are seeking connection more than ever before due to the gradual effects that self-isolation can have. Those who spend too much time alone without communicating with others can begin to feel increasingly isolated and experience a toll on their mental health.

Working From Home

With gatherings banned and most businesses being unable to properly accommodate social distancing guidelines, millions of Americans are now working from home.

For those who were already able to work remotely, this is nothing new. Those who have never experienced this situation, though, are still familiarizing themselves with the process.

Many people, for example, may find that newfound freedom makes it difficult to stay on-task. This could lead to a spike in non-work-related browsing during business hours and a minor to moderate drop in productivity.

Video conferences have also become a norm, with many important meetings now taking place over video chat instead of in-person. Given the restrictions people currently face, companies often negotiate multi-million-dollar deals over video chat.

This scenario has also led to many businesses revamping (or even creating) an online infrastructure to facilitate their employees' work. Many businesses have had to adapt to the sudden necessity of remote work, which has led to some companies developing entire systems to keep productivity as high as possible.

Video Games Are The New Pro Sports

Much to the dismay of fans, seasons of professional sports like baseball, basketball, and soccer were all cut short due to the virus. Even playing local, non-televised games is forbidden due to the government's restrictions on gatherings.

Instead, people have turned to professional gamers to satisfy their craving to watch competitive play. For example, streaming website Twitch has seen an enormous spike in traffic as a result of major league games being canceled. 

Watching live streams of video games or also just playing video games on the internet, also seems to satisfy the need for social connection that many people have experienced during the pandemic, something that isn't present while watching major league games. Since the focus of the stream is a single person (many of which interact with their audience), watching gamers has become an almost therapeutic practice for some.

For the time being, we can expect e-sports to gradually gain more popularity due to the ambiguity that surrounds when the ban on major league sports will be lifted.  

Self-Education

With the abundance of free time that people now have, using the Internet to research topics and teach oneself skills is more prominent than ever. Many people stuck inside are learning to play an instrument, how to code, etc.

In response, content creators have begun making far more tutorials in order to teach people the basics of many different pursuits.

People are also constantly researching COVID-19 and the impact that it's having on the entire world, often using scientific articles to educate themselves as opposed to news-based websites. 

Finally, college students are completing their required coursework online, putting them in a situation where they just use the Internet to research and teach themselves a large amount of material. All of these scenarios combined have conveyed how powerful and necessary the Internet is when it comes to self-education.

As restrictions are lifted in the future, it's likely people will still continue to use the Internet in this way.

Online Shopping

As time goes on, it's become exceedingly difficult to shop in-person at stores. Many retailers have transitioned to conducting sales solely on the Internet. Amazon, of course, is more popular than ever due to how easy the platform is to use for online purchases. 

People have even begun to purchase basic necessities online, such as toilet paper, paper towels, etc. Additionally, ordering food has become even more commonplace since restaurants aren't permitted to host patrons or employees, and grocery shopping online is soaring during the Coronavirus crisis.

Since outdoor advertising (such as billboards) is now largely irrelevant, many companies are reallocating their advertising budgets toward digital advertising instead. This means we can expect to see far more product ads in the coming months, especially for items that weren't typically purchased online before the pandemic hit.

It should be noted, though, that due to the large volume of online orders and the fact that many warehouses now only keep minimum staff, order times have significantly increased.

The Development of Cybersecurity Threats

Unfortunately, a byproduct of more people using the Internet is an increase in cybersecurity threats.

Hackers are even taking advantage of people's interest in the spread of COVID-19 and using fake pandemic maps to install malware on unwary users' machines. This malicious software can be anything from an influx of annoying popup ads to a virus that aims to compromise your personal information.

Additionally, many people are experiencing fraudulent texts and emails claiming to be from official sources, such as the CDC or a financial institution. Upon clicking the link provided in these messages, the user's computer is either unknowingly infected with malware or they are brought to a false login page that gives their login credentials directly to the hacker.

Fortunately, though, information regarding these attacks has become increasingly widespread and people are beginning to properly educate themselves on defending against them.

Internet Speed May Become an Issue For Some

For those who live in areas with a high population density, there may be certain times during the day or evening when their Internet speed is significantly slower. While this is sometimes due to the sheer number of users simultaneously using bandwidth, it can also result from multiple users  participating in remote conferences.

In fact, many people are left wondering 'will the Coronavirus break the Internet?'

While there isn't an imminent threat of Internet service providers failing to offer a reliable connection to their customers, slowdowns may be an issue that can't be circumvented during peak times. After all, this time period is most likely one that's seen the most simultaneous Internet usage, so the fast Internet most people are used to may occasionally experience lower speeds.

But, the Internet is dealing well with growing Coronavirus traffic, and general usage shouldn't be too heavily affected.

Streaming Services Have Seen Drastically Increased Usage

Watching movies, shows, or videos is a favorite pastime for many of us, and the abundance of free time the pandemic has left people with has caused a surge in viewership. Watching content can also be a form of escape or relaxation, which is something that those who are experiencing COVID-related hardships are taking advantage of.

Interestingly, people tend to be using their computers and smart devices to stream content as opposed to their phones. Since people no longer need to watch content while on their lunch break or when they're otherwise away from home, they can turn to devices with larger screens for a better viewing experience.

Understanding How Self-Isolation Has Affected The Internet Can Seem Difficult

But it doesn't have to be.

With the above information about the effects of self-isolation in mind, you'll be well on your way toward understanding both how Internet behavior has changed and the utility it provides.

Want to learn more about how we can help? Feel free to get in touch with us today to see what we can do.


High Speed Internet Providers News, Insights and Tidbits

Keeping you up to date with High Speed Broadband Internet Providers updates news and information.

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High Speed Internet Providers News, Insights and Tidbits

February 10, 2020

02/10/2020

Hey there Internet Explorers!  Here are some quick hits about what is going on in the world of broadband internet, satellite internet and internet service providers.

 

·      The Broadband Space Race is on:  

o   Last Thursday, February 6, 2020, a rocket was sent into space with the intent of changing up the landscape of what internet providers can offer from a speed and availability standpoint.  No its not AT&T, Comcast (Xfinity), Spectrum or some other big cable company trying to dominate the airwaves.  Instead, the rocket was equipped with several of hundreds of satellites to be deployed by OneWeb Satellite and SpaceX.  The goal of this and future launches is to cast a web of hundreds of satellites circling the globe aimed at giving high speed 5G internet access to each and every person on the planet.  Believe it or not, there are still rural parts of the United States that have very little access to high speed internet.  These folks have had to resort to satellite internet providers like HughesNet and Viasat to be able to provide them internet access.  Not to be outdone, HughesNet and Viasat are planning to harness the power of their existing network as well as new innovations to ensure they stay on top of the satellite internet game.  More on that to come in the near future…

·      Not as many people have Access to High Speed Internet as previously thought:

o   According to a PC Magazine article It looks like the FCC may have botched how it reported the number of Americans who have access to broadband high speed internet.  Believe it or not the article states over 42 million people don’t have internet fast enough to stream their favorite shows on Netflix. 

·      Rural Digital Opportunity Fund: 

o   Yaaay! Faster internet for all.  In January 2020, the FCC decided to allocate over 10 Billion in funding to help provide fast internet to the rest of the United States.   The Rural Digital Opportunity fund will create jobs, opportunity and most important of all the ability of all Americans to be able to binge watch their shows on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime.  

·      Down goes Spectrum:

o   Spectrum High Speed Internet television and phone service came to an abrupt halt over the weekend leaving many of their customers upset, frustrated and disconnected from the online world.  This affected areas of New York, Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and various other cities and states on the North East Coast.  It seems as though bad weather was to blame.  I just hope those customers had their DVR’s filled or old DVD’s to help pass the time trapped in their homes.  

 


The Horrors of Moving

Horror movies had a character to give a warning to the would-be victims. Here are some moving stories to serve as warning for your own moving stories!

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The Horrors of Moving

Horror stories of old, and some of the new, come with a warning.

The most common interpretation of these warnings is to have the would-be victims stop at a gas station to fill up their vehicle with gas. As they wait for the tank to fill, an eerie-looking person will step out and approach them. He’ll give an ominous warning that the direction they plan to go will lead to chaos, and most likely death.

Moving can feel like a horror movie, which is why you should listen to horror stories of others and heed the Message from the Harbinger.

Here’s the familiar “Harbinger” scene from a recent classic, The Cabin in The Woods.


(If you haven’t seen The Cabin in The Woods yet, go watch it! Also, if you have seen it, go watch it again. I’m even reading the novelization!)

The Harbinger is meant to give the would-be victims an opportunity to try a different path or change course completely. In The Cabin in The Woods, and other horror classics like it, The Harbinger scene is the ominous foreboding of what’s to come if the would-be victims don’t heed his warning.

…They don’t.

If the would-be victims listened and changed, then there would be no story, no horror movie, and no victims.

Your moving story doesn’t have to end like theirs.

Take heed and listen to the following stories so you can save yourself from the same peril that befell these victims! (insert ghostly wailing)

Never Trust a Neighborhood

James (not his real name), had been in his new house for barely a full week. It was Sunday, and he opened the garage to pull out his wife’s car as they made ready to go to church. Sitting in the driveway was his work truck.

Something was missing!

The work truck was a Toyota Pre-Runner, with an open bed.

As a pest control technician, James would use an expensive leaf-blower with an attachment to spray treatment chemicals on lawns. It was brand new. Cost nearly $1000.

Moreover, it was gone!

The previous neighborhood James had lived in was rundown. Cars were parked on lawns, a few homes had windows boarded up, and some of the residents had questionable jobs. However, the truck sat out in the open with the leaf-blower in plain sight…no one touched it.

This new neighborhood, although nicer, was still being built. No one parked his or her car on the front lawn, all the windows were intact, and everyone had a job.

Yet, someone had stolen equipment that James didn’t even own.

However, he still had to help pay to replace, to the tune of $450.

The Warning

New neighborhoods, though they may look nice, can still hide secrets.

If you’re not familiar with the area, you can get information from those who do live there. Check out City-Data Forums to see what locals have to say. You can post a question about your neighborhood there and get answers.

Make a Checklist

Bob (not his real name) had moved into a lovely two-story home with his wife and kids. He’d set up a bundle package through a local home services provider, getting his internet, cable TV, and phone from one source. Bob liked the convenience of the single check, and he was finding that it saved him some money.

Six months after the move-in, however, he got a bill with late-charges, overdue fees, and about seven months of monthly charge.

For services on his previous home!

Bob had forgotten to cancel the internet service at his last house.

With those built-up charges, Bob had to do a payment plan, as well as work with his credit company to keep his credit score from taking a hit.

It would take years before Bob could pay down the bill.

The Warning

Make a checklist to ensure you haven’t missed anything before you move out of your home. It may seem tedious, but when the moving process revs up, you’ll most likely be too busy to remember everything yourself. A simple piece of paper with the items listed can save you time, and in Bob’s case, money. You can even use the notes app on your smartphone to write out a list.

If you’re worried that you missed a crucial step, check out The Art of Happy Moving. The Art of Happy Moving has a checklist you can download. The checklist breaks down the timeline needed to get things ready for a smoother transition.

If you want to make a list yourself, that’s fine, but make sure you make a list.

However, most of all- don’t forget to cancel services at your old home!

Missing Pieces

On a Friday morning, Jack finally found time to start opening boxes that had piled up in his living room from the recent move. The process of moving had been bumpy, but so far, everything had smoothed out.

He’d hired movers to help, and they’d managed to get everything out of his apartment and storage unit, and into his new home in the time allotted.

However, the very next morning he had to go back to work and the stacks of boxes in his living room sat there for several days.

Now he finally had time to get the unpacking done.

As items came out, he noticed a couple of his Bluetooth speakers were missing. He was sure he’d packed them in the right box, but they weren’t there. All the boxes had been taped up, so the movers couldn’t have opened them and helped themselves to some of Jack’s stuff before they left.

Where were they?!

After opening every box, and stacking the contents everywhere else, he was still sure the speakers were missing.

He headed back to his old apartment and asked the management if someone had turned them into the lost and found. The answer was “no.”

The next week Jack searched the boxes again, called friends who’d helped him move, and still couldn’t find them.

It wasn’t until he’d just about given up hope that he found his missing speakers- right next to his bed. He’d pulled the speakers out of the box before taping them up so that he could show a friend. The friend had put them on top of the boxes when they’d loaded up the moving truck. The movers had placed them next to his bed.

The Warning

You can inventory your entire house to avoid something like this. But then again, that would take a lot of time.

Apps, like Sortly, allow you to take pictures of your stuff and the app will create QR codes that you can print out to put on boxes. You can then scan the closed box to see what’s inside, or what should be inside. While this doesn’t eliminate the possibility of lost items, it can help you track your stuff and provide peace of mind.

Bad Movers

To get his stuff across the country, Vince hired movers who would pack his stuff, as well as his car, into containers. They’d agreed to deliver it to his new address and help him unpack.

Vince, being busy, flew to his new home and continued working until the movers showed up.

When they did show up, however, they demanded “extra fees” because of some trouble getting it across the country. While Vince hadn’t agreed on this stipulation, the movers had the keys to the truck.

Vince also noticed that his car wasn’t with the truck.

Since his stuff was held hostage, and his car was nowhere in sight, Vince had to walk to a nearby gas station to use their ATM. Then he had to walk back, hand over the money, and wait for them to unload all his belongings.

With that finally done, Vince had to then negotiate for his car.

Another trip the nearby ATM and he was given the keys and an address.

He didn’t know how to get there, so he had to plug in the address to his map and use public transportation to get there.

At last, Vince had found his car- it was in a paid parking space, and he had to pay the parking fee to get it out.

The Warning

Make sure you have, in writing, the exact agreement you’ve made with the moving company that you’ve hired.

Before doing this, check them out on the Better Business Bureau and Yelp. Moving companies who do lousy work will get reported. A simple search of the moving company name, plus the word “complaints,” will help you find out who’s been complaining about them.

More reputable moving companies, though they might be more pricey, will save you a headache and you won’t have to worry about your stuff being held for ransom. They may provide a written contract for you, but you should still make sure you have, in writing, the exact agreement you made with them.

Save the Jump Scares for the Movies

Horror movies, with their copious deaths and arterial blood spray, are the best place for scary things to happen.

Not your moving experience.

Although every problem can’t is avoidable, you can take some steps to eliminate problems or at least mitigate them. Things like a checklist, writing up a “mover agreement,” or taking inventory of your stuff can save you from a jump scare along the way.

There is one last thing you need to set up for your new home- setting up your new home services.

Home services, like energy utility, home security system, and internet service provider, can be set up before you move in. It’s highly likely you’ll be moving to a new neighborhood, one you’re not familiar with. You may not know who provides energy, or what ISPs are in the area.

Check out the best internet packages and deals from KonectEaze. Here you’ll find internet, cable TV, phone, home security, and in certain places, energy utilities. You can research providers here and find out what deals are available by merely searching your new zip code.

You can save yourself some time, headache, and cash all in one place.

Do you have a moving horror story? Share it in the comments below.

For news and updates on moving, home service providers, and horror stories, keep the browser open to On The Download.


Venom: Creepy Enough?

While I have yet to see Venom, I’m hoping what I’m hearing from critics is wrong. Then again, I’ve been disappointed by superhero films before. I’ve also been surprised. We’ll have to wait and see.

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Venom: Creepy Enough?

While I have yet to see Venom, I’m hoping what I’m hearing from critics is wrong. Then again, I’ve been disappointed by superhero films before. I’ve also been surprised.

We’ll have to wait and see.

Best of the Bad

I’ve always liked the character of Venom. He was one of those unique villains, the ones you loved to hate and root against. However, you didn’t want them to die away completely.

You know, villains like Dr. Doom, Magneto, and Apocalypse.

Victor Von Doom, who would later become Dr. Doom, was a megalomaniac bent on world domination. He wanted to be 'The One Ruler of the Whole World.'

Then we have Magneto. As a Holocaust survivor, he’s seen the worst side of humanity. Being on the receiving end of that hatred led him to believe that humans are not fit to rule the planet, nor are they capable of even taking care of themselves. What’s a metal-bending mutant to do? Take over the world, of course.

We also have Apocalypse. (Not to the movie version. He was weak)

The comic book version was much more terrifying; He was born in ancient Egypt…let that sink in for a second.

This guy’s mutant power allowed him to live for millennia. He was born with grey skin and random blue lines. This terrified his tribe. As a result, they sought to kill him. Thanks to this lack of understanding, Apocalypse, known as En Sabbah Nur at the time, decided humans must be subjugated. Moreover, who better to do that than himself?

A theme among all these bad guys is the wounds, both physical and emotional, received from small-minded people. Instead of understanding that it was small-mindedness that caused this, they’ve decided ALL of humanity must pay. That anger becomes hatred, and that hatred is what drives them to do great and terrible things.

This drive also makes them scary.

Venom gets put in the same category as these guys.

Not because he wants to rule the world. In truth, Venom could care less who’s in charge of the world.

He wants only one thing- to eat.

Moreover, humans are the tastiest of foods available on the planet.

Venom


In his original debut, Venom was an alien symbiote. He’s not a mutant or something created in a lab. Well, in the Ultimate Universe he was, but that’s beside the point.

The point is, he didn’t come from earth. He just showed up.

Now, the symbiotes are different in that they need a host to survive. They bond with a nearby host, or they’ll most likely die. The Venom Symbiote bonded with the nearest candidate, and that was Spider-Man. However, thanks to Spidey’s strength of will and cunning, he separated himself from the thing.

Eddie Brock--arrogant, angry, forever scarred by an abusive father--was nearby and ended up bonding with the symbiote.

While I’m not sure how the movie handles it, and I’ve heard they could have done a better job, that’s the basic gist of how Brock bonded with Venom.

The two have been a pair for much of the character’s history. There were times when Venom was a good guy. There were times when he was tearing through cities and was nigh unstoppable.

Also, there was a time when an Anti-Venom existed. He was the opposite, even in color, to Venom.

Throughout it all, however, Venom wasn’t to be trusted. He could do good things from time to time, yet there was this feeling that he was just *this* close to losing it and tearing things up again.

While Tom Hardy was a great choice to play Eddie Brock/Venom, it remains to be seen if this incarnation will live on in the movies. If that happens then, by all means, keep Hardy. If not, then I suggest Scott Eastwood.

There is plenty of comic book fodder here to keep Venom going, even if it’s just the symbiotes themselves.

You see, Venom wasn’t alone.

A rare trait of this alien species was that they could reproduce asexually- meaning they merely “hatched” another symbiote.

Carnage

When Venom did hatch another symbiote, that one did the same thing and looked for a host to bond to.

The problem was that it bonded with Cletus Kasaday.

Cletus was a cellmate of Brock’s. When the Venom symbiote came to bust him out, it left something behind. That something bonded with Cletus.

Cletus, unlike Brock, was an unstable serial killer.

The pairing of the two led to a real problem for the Marvel Universe.

Instead of a symbiote that could be persuaded to be good, from time to time, Carnage was never interested in doing anything for the good of others. Cletus loved to kill people. Carnage wanted to eat. Carnage could eat while also equipping Cletus with a unique way of murdering others.

He continues to be a problem, mostly for Spider-Man. A few other heroes have had run-ins with the deranged hunter-killer as well. Now and then it looks as though they’ve captured him and put him away, but he always finds a way to escape.

When they do debut Carnage on the big screen, and they need to do it soon, I suggest Toby Kebbell for the role.

Interestingly enough, when it came time for Carnage to hatch another symbiote, he ended up picking someone who was almost his complete opposite.

Toxin

Patrick Mulligan was a New York City Police Officer and was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Carnage, looking to offload his new symbiote, placed it in Mulligan, and left, thinking the problem was solved. If that were true, then there’d be no story and no reason to keep reading the comic. Luckily for the readers, and not Cletus, there was a problem.

When the symbiote hatched, Patrick did all that he could to keep the thing from going on a rampage. Unlike Brock, who was scared by an abusive father and Cletus, who enjoyed killing people, Patrick had a sense of justice and didn’t want to hurt anyone.

That sense of justice caused problems with the symbiote who came to be named Toxin.

Of the three symbiotes out there, Toxin is, by far, the most interesting.

When they do finally get around to casting a Patrick Mulligan, Liam Hemsworth would be great in that part.

After all, his brother Chris has done a stellar job as Thor, so why not let the younger brother have a shot at being a Marvel superhero?

Well, maybe not a superhero, but a highly conflicted anti-superhero.

Which One is Best?

While Eddie does have some sense of right and wrong, he’s ultimately a thug with a unique weapon. Whatever conflict there is minimal. This doesn’t degrade Venom as a character. Instead, he’s someone trying to wrestle with morality. The problem is that the “bad” side is constantly tapping at Eddie’s brain and making him feel hungry. Thus, Eddie usually gives in to Venom’s demands.

Carnage, on the other hand, is a straight-up sociopath.

While Lecter may use medical instruments to kill his victims, and Leatherface a chainsaw, Cletus has a suit that warps into blades and other sharp things. What more could a serial killer want?

For Cletus, the argument of right versus wrong is moot. He knows what’s right and what’s wrong, but he does not care.

Toxin is where it gets interesting.

Patrick feels beholden to justice; there is right, and there is wrong. For Patrick, it’s up to him to bring offenders to justice.

However, there’s this thing that keeps tapping at his brain, causing hunger in his throat, and that crawling sensation under his skin.

It will not go away.

So what’s a good guy to do?

And therein lies an intriguing conflict.

Until we get that movie, Venom will have to do. When it does hit streaming, make sure you’re hooked up with the best internet deals in your area. Just saying...

Between now and then, catch up on all your reading by heading over to Marvel Unlimited. This way you can stream the comics to your favorite device. You’ll be able to catch up on your reading whenever you have a free moment. You’ll also learn more about the characters as well.

The best part about this is you can form your own opinion about Venom, Carnage, and Toxin.

Who do you think is the best symbiote? When someone finally makes a movie about them, which actors would you cast?

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