actorartathleteauthorbizcrimecrosspostcustomerservicedirectoredufoodgaminghealthjournalistmedicalmilmodpostmunimusicnewsworthynonprofitotherphilpolretailscispecialisedspecializedtechtourismtravelunique

CrosspostSave Net Neutrality: Stop Big Cable From Slowing and Breaking the Sites We Love! [/r/Privacy AMA Jul 11–12][X-Post r/privacy]

Jul 11th 2017 by gemohandy • 11 Questions • 125 Points

My name is Dane Jasper (/u/danejasper), and I co-founded Sonic in 1994, at a time when the “World Wide Web” was brand new, Linux had just been invented and avoiding dialup busy signals was the main customer issue. Today, Sonic is the largest independent ISP in Northern California. As a 20-year industry veteran, I've seen a lot of change, but I remain committed to the concept of alternative competitive broadband access services, which is why I’m fighting for net neutrality today.

Sonic firmly believes that internet providers should NOT be able to charge content creators -- like Netflix or CNET -- more money to stream their service, or have the ability to block others entirely. The internet should remain open and equal for all.

I’ll be sticking around to answer your questions on net neutrality and what’s at stake for you and everyone else who uses and loves the internet, amid the FCC’s plans to roll back current net neutrality regulations. Ask away!

Proof: https://i.redd.it/25jzwv38c19z.jpg

Q:

I wanted to thank you guys again for how well you covered the events that night (and again later that week at Police Headquarters).

I followed your coverage mostly through twitter and the live videos that were posted there. How has covering stories through that medium changed the way you approach news?

A:

Hi Dane, thanks for doing this.

What kind of pressure have you felt (say from competitors, from corporations/content providers, or from government) to abandon Net Neutrality?

(Unrelated, but I hope to be a Sonic customer someday ... if/when fiber comes to my town of Moraga.)


Q:

Thank you immoralminority. Having designated people to do Facebook Live and Twitter that night was a fairly new thing for us. It's definitely changed the way we cover breaking news. That night our website crashed shortly after the shooting, making our social media accounts imperative. Now we try to use our social media accounts and our website together. It's nice to have multiple tools to tell stories on different platforms.

-Ashley

A:

Clearly most large carriers have been against net neutrality, and Title II in particular, as well as against any regulations around consumer privacy. Sonic bucks this trend, but there's no pressure anyone can put on us, we have an independent viewpoint and are able to express it to regulators, legislators and the public. We do this, widely, signing on to support letters from industry coalitions, speaking with the FCC, federal and state legislators, and asking our members to get involved too.


Q:

What was it like covering this as a resident of Dallas, not just reporters? What was the newsroom like during that time? Thanks for all your work.

A:

Can you please come to Seattle to offer us an alternative to Comcast?


Q:

The newsroom was bit a hectic, but everyone buckled down and got to work. After we learned shots had been fired, there was a rush to get as much confirmed as we could to let the public know what was happening. I think the newsoom was pretty wired until about 4 a.m., a couple hours after we'd learned the attack was over. We were also dealing with a new website and new publishing tools so there was a bit of a learning curve there, which proved frustrating at times.

I’d lived in Dallas for about three years at the time and covered breaking news for all three so in a way I’ve experienced Dallas and gotten to know the city through covering crime and other events. It’s a bit hard to separate the two. But when I left the office the next morning and saw the helicopters still circling around it felt totally surreal. All the protests we’d had in recent memory had been peaceful, and it seemed going into the July 7 rally that there was no reason this one wouldn’t be the same. It didn’t make sense.

I wish lifelong Dallas resident and DMN columnist Robert Wilonsky were in the room right now to answer this question, but instead here's a link to his column that went up July 8. I think he did a great job of putting into words what it was like to cover this as a Dallasite.

-- Claire

A:

We are expanding very quickly, but are not yet outside of California. Please tell your CA friends, because more Sonic members == bigger, further reaching Sonic!


Q:

What was it like covering this as a resident of Dallas, not just reporters? What was the newsroom like during that time? Thanks for all your work.

A:

How did Sonic manage to stick around and remain independent while nearly every other local ISP (they were all small and local at the start) folded, was purchased, or just gave up? Is it still very hard to do business in most markets due to the incumbents, and is there anything we can do to bring more independents back into the business?


Q:

It was a bizarre feeling knowing this was happening in our city, only a few blocks from our office. It's always something you think about happening in other cities, not ours. I grew up here. I learned about journalism from growing up reading this newspaper. It's still not completely real.

That night we didn't think about it being in "our city." We just went to work. It was a very instinctual time for all of us. If something needed to be done, we did it. It didn't matter that we hadn't slept or eaten. The newsroom just became a machine, and we just did our jobs the best we could.

I wasn't in the newsroom much in the days after the shooting. Photographers were out covering vigils and funerals and memorials and breaking news for most of the two weeks after. We talked when we could, but it was very business-like, at least for me. It seemed more important to keep going until the story was finished. Then deal with our own emotions.

-Ashley

A:

I don't know why most ISPs failed. Clearly, we are still here, so it is possible to compete and to thrive. And while there are fewer, there are remaining competitive providers (see Socket.net, Gorge.net, Cruzio.com, MonkeyBrains.net, etc) as well as new upstarts like Ting and Google Fiber. Don't give up on competitive alternatives, but instead find and subscribe to one, and tell others to do the same!


Q:

What was it like being a reporter literally in the line of fire?

A:

Don't you guys use AT&T's network? How come AT&T can offer gigabit internet but you only go up to 50mbps?


Q:

Hi martino181,

Thank you for your question.

I was assigned to cover the protest that ultimately turned into the shooting on The Dallas Morning News' Facebook Live.

When the shooting started I was walking and starting to give a wrap up of the protest coverage to our live viewers. I was about at the intersection of Commerce and Austin Streets in downtown Dallas.

At first I thought that the shots was a firework or someone driving over an empty plastic bottle. But then police cars, motorcycles and officers streamed in the directions of the shots. I was still streaming live on our Facebook when an officer pushed me into a doorway and out of the line of fire.

A woman was running the other way yelling "They're shooting! They're shooting!" And that is when it set in that something had happened.

I wear a microphone when I broadcast so I was trying to be very careful about what I said. Questions were streaming in on our Facebook and I was trying to answer them as I could. But I had incredibly limited knowledge about what was happening — I only knew what I could see and hear for myself.

I said over the microphone that if someone in the newsroom wanted me to stop broadcasting that they needed to comment and I would stop, but the comment never came.

I remained live on our Facebook for about 45 minutes after the first shots were fired. Ultimately my phone died after my mom called me to make sure I was safe.

Frankly what I had just covered didn't set in until I was back in the newsroom being asked to speak on television news broadcasts around the world.

-Hannah

A:

Sonic Fusion service is unlimited internet and phone, delivered in 125 CA cities via three platforms:

Fusion Fiber - gigabit (1000Mbps) service, on our own fiber. This is the new hotness, and what you want, but the availability is limited to parts of three cities today.

Fusion xDSL - VDSL2 or ADSL2+ service, on our own equipment located in your local Central Office (telephone exchange) building. All our network, but over leased copper, providing speeds from 5Mbps to 100Mbps, depending upon distance.

Fusion FTTN - fiber-to-the-node using AT&T's neighborhood fiber-fed cabinet network, which as you note allows a maximum of 50Mbps for our members. That is limited by the commercial terms we can get at this point, but we're continuing to push for faster speeds. (Advantage though over ATT's direct offering: no monthly usage cap or overage charges!)

To find out which of the three products and speeds are available at your location, input your address on the http://Sonic.com website.

All of the products also include a home phone line, with unlimited nationwide calling, voice features like enhanced 911, caller ID and voicemail, and unlimited calling to fixed line numbers in over sixty countries around the world. It's like getting a "World" phone plan, thrown in!


Q:

Did you see the protesters as anti-cop?

A:

Recently Google Fiber bowed out of laying more fiber after their purchase of WebPass. They said they'd go with the wireless options but not much has been heard from them.

In the mean time Sonic has still going strong on fiber. Has Google's change away from landlines changed your options at all? Is Sonic considering the wireless options as well?


Q:

I wouldn't characterize the protestors that day as being particularly one thing or another. It was such a large and diverse crowd it would have been impossible lump everyone together. Some people had signs and were shouting. Other people were walking their kids. So, if you talked to ten different people that day, you would have gotten ten different reasons why they were there.

-Smiley

A:

We continue to have a positive outlook about the fiber to the home business. And while wireless is headed toward some interesting things (mmWave, CBRS, massive-MIMO, etc), we don't believe it is yet a viable solution for single-family-dwellings.


Q:

Did you see the protesters as anti-cop?

A:

Hi Diane, How many upvotes for a year of free tater tots?


Q:

This story is also a look at Micah Johnson.

A:

All of them.


Q:

Following the protest did other protests that you covered have a different feel to them? Like would you say it had an influence on how comfortable people are in the protest?

A:

What're you currently doing to make it right?


Q:

During a prayer service today at Thanks-Giving Square I talked to two young people who were there on 7/7 and wanted to come out to one of the remembrances today -- but wanted it to be a quieter gathering without a large crowd.

There are plenty of people who are more wary of crowds, like one of the demonstrators from 7/7, Tytiana Long, said in our anniversary package: “You kind of think about every public gathering that could be possibly a setup for something to happen,” she said. “It gets scary.”

Survivors bare emotional scars of Dallas ambush that killed five police

So yes, some protests might seem to have been smaller and a bit more "chill" since then (particularly some of the very somber events I have covered after Jordan Edwards' death).

However, the some of the post-inauguration day protests (I think I covered eight protests in the first ten days) were a little more intense.

That said, even protests like the ones at the airport, or the women's march -- which where big, loud and crowded -- never felt threatening or anything like that.

Both at the airport and at the women's march there were demonstrators (and organizers) publicly thanking police and giving them high fives.

Which is how things were on 7/7 during the march.

-Smiley

A:

First, advocating for positive policy positions, on key issues including privacy, and net neutrality. As a carrier, we've got a unique role in this. But even more critically, we are continuing to build competitive access network coverage, allowing more consumers another choice of access, but also putting pressure on incumbent providers, who may improve their policies if consumers flee for a better ISP!


Q:

Awesome Reply I appreciate you guys doing this.

A:

Hi Dane,

Consistent uptime and bandwidth are the most important thing to your customers. How do you balance profit and delivering a good product, and has the thought of abusing your bandwitdh for profit ever been brought up in your boardroom?


Q:

As cliche as it sounds, persistence really helps. Persistence and real life experience. You have to have something to show potential employers such as clips from internships and ideas about how you'd cover a story to attract a digital audience. It's no longer enough to just be able to write a good story on deadline. You have to be able to tweet and shoot video, build an online audience, etc.

With regard to cumulative negativity, a lot of journalists compartmentalize. It's not necessarily a healthy way to deal with some of the truly awful stuff but it's a means of coping so you can do your job. It doesn't always work and you do break down. Some stories will bring all the feelings you've tried to store away to the surface.

One of our reporters, Jennifer Emily, wrote a story that kind of touches on this topic and how she explained the concept of "bad guys" to her young daughters. In it she said, "It isn't because I don't care. I care deeply, maybe too much. Names and images rattle around in my brain. They creep to the surface if I forget to hold them back. If I kept them in my heart, I'm not certain I could function."

-- Claire

A:

We've been pitched a number of schemes that would "monetize" our member's internet usage. Ad swapping, DNS error redirection, etc. But no, none of those pitches have ever been seriously considered, because they're wrong.

See also: https://corp.sonic.net/ceo/2011/08/11/the-five-levels-of-isp-evil/


Q:

What were the hardest decisions to make as photographers while you were covering the ambush? And in figuring out what else to show afterwards? Thanks!

A:

Do you agree that ISPs should be classified as common carriers?

Also, how much do I have to bribe you to get the fiber installation trucks to skip directly to me?


Q:

I think initially we were just trying to figure out what was going on for ourselves. Just point the camera at anything that moves. There were many photos we found later that ended up being VERY important, but we didn't know that at the time. In the moment, it was just important to document everything we could possibly document without sacrificing our personal safety. In the days that followed, there was so much to cover. We tried to show how the city was feeling. There was a lot of hurt, anger, rallying, and so many other emotions. I think we did our best to make decisions that reflected and honored those feelings in a balanced way.

-Ashley

A:

Yes, in the absence of effective competitive pressure that would keep bad behaviors in check, I believe ISPs should remain regulated on key issues like privacy and neutrality.

We are building as fast as we can, but it'll go more rapidly if we have more members. So rather than bribe me to send those trucks to you, bribe your friends to switch to Sonic and support our mission! =)


Q:

Hi, have you seen a change in the Dallas community as a direct result of the ambush and your coverage? What was it like talking to people a year later?

A:

since some of your services still uses AT&T lines (which I guess they must be bound by law to allow you to lease), what's the most anti-competitive thing you've seen them do within those restrictions?


Q:

I think in the weeks following the shooting, there was a different feel to the city. Things were very raw, for better and for worse. I spent 8 hours in front of DPD headquarters a couple days after the shooting, and I watched as hundreds of people lined up to come by and hug officers and share their stories and condolences. One thing that hit me hard was seeing all of the police officers and first responders who came from all over the world to help with funerals and just be here in solidarity with DPD and the citizens of Dallas. I think that feeling faded after a while, as those feelings do with time, but the anniversary feels raw again. Not to the extent of what it was a year ago, but I think it gives people that sense of wanting to band together and step up to represent our city in a positive light. As Mayor Rawlings put it in his column - "The Dallas police ambush didn't create heroes, it revealed them" -Ashley

A:

I won't speak regarding AT&T specifically, but incumbent carriers in general often have sold wholesale access at above the retail rate, with more restrictive terms, and sometimes slower installation or disconnection processes.

(The solution: build more fiber ourselves!)


Q:

Thanks for such a thoughtful response. Really respect the work you guys did and are doing, especially to make sure we don't forget the people who were involved.

A:

Hi Dane, I love what Sonic is doing as a small ISP sticking it to the big guys. Unfortunately most of your service areas (or at least the ones in Fremont) are still stuck with DSL with no option for fiber. Since DSL is about 20x slower than comparably priced services from AT&T and Comcast, the choice is clear from a consumer point of view. Just wanted to let you know I still look at your website every few months and sigh wistfully at the thought of someday getting rid of Comcast.

Since I have to have a question in r/IAmA: Do you have any solid plans for additional fiber service around the bay area?


Q:

As far as talking to people a year later, I help edit reporters who have been conducting such interviews. But I haven't yet discussed their experiences with those people, so I cannot comment right now. On the bigger question: My personal view is that whenever large-scale public tragedies like this occur, you immediately hear, "Life will never be the same." As a longtime resident of Dallas, I'll say that over the long run, that isn't true in the huge ways the cliche suggests (unless of course you are one of the many, many people who were truly, deeply and directly involved). But there is a core of truth to it. You don't look at things quite the same way, even though "life goes on." I'm a downtown resident, and I drive by the scene of the shooting at least once a day. Even after a year, I still think often about what happened that night. I'm sure we all wanted to become better people because of dealing with the tragedy that befell the victims and their loved ones. As long as we hold onto that hope, then I think we can say there's been a change in the community. -- Chris (an editor, so please expect I'll be editing my responses)

A:

Yes!


Q:

Hi, thanks for this AMA. Are there parts of your coverage from that day and in the followup that you wish got more attention from a national audience?

A:

I do kind of wish each of the fallen officers individual life stories would get a little more "ink" or "air time" sometimes. All five of these officers left families and legacies. All five of them touched and changed people in our community's lives.

Due to tragic nature of that night, and the way the news business works sometimes, all five are forever linked both by the events and in the news coverage.

But each were individuals who served our community in ways most of us will never know.

So it is my hope that as the years pass, we (collectively) will continue to honor their lives and their legacies and maybe learn more about the "little things" that everyone of them did to make a difference.

-Smiley


Q:

[deleted]

A:

This is the last I heard about Mark Hughes who was wrongly accused as a suspect in the shooting. I'm not sure if he ever got a meeting with police, or if he ever got a formal apology. -Ashley


Q:

Is this fake news? Do you have any affiliation with CNN? Do you need to be a part of CNN to make things up. Why do you make things up?

A:

Are any of these serious questions, or did you just make things up? - Chris (an editor, so please expect I'll be editing my responses.)