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Specialized Profession-LiveIamA Lifeguard and Water Safety Instructor AMA!

Jul 16th 2017 by Exponan • 16 Questions • 2365 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'm 19 and I still haven't learned how to swim. Is it too late for me?

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:

Never to late, I've meet an instructor that taught two 80 year old women how to swim. Talk to your local pool about adult beginner classes. Your not alone.

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:

My nanny kid is 3 and has been taking swim classes since he was 6 months. He still refuses to put his head underwater. Any advice?

A:

What exactly is ocean water?


Q:

I play alot of games with aims in my preschool classes. Each game is designed to develop rhythmic breathing (bubbles) and submersion (eyes in). It's building that comfort level and I'll just take time.

Take him to the pool and practice at home in the bathtub. Use progressions and try and break it up into easy steps. For example start with dumping a little bit of water on the top of his head and let it drip to his eyes, cup your hands and have him put his eyes in, fill a small bucket and have him put his eyes in.

Hope this helps a bit!

A:

It's the salty kind. Which might be due to the fish pee. Or not.


Q:

Fellow lifeguard here... what's your uniform preference: Navy or Bright red?

A:

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


Q:

The one municipality I work for uses Red Shirts for guards and Navy Blue for Supervisors. I'd love to wear Navy Blue sometimes lol

But Bright Red for guards ;)

Other pool I work at uses green guard shirts.

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 is your opinion on those people that think throwing young children in a pool will "teach" them to swim? Happened to me and I almost drowned, but friends of mine have said that's how they learned.

A:

At lot of the larger ISPs are fighting against neutrality. As a favorite ISP, it might seem surprising that you're not fighting with them, so it's really encouraging to see this AMA!

I'll ask the biggie: why is net neutrality important for you as an ISP?

(Also, as a non-US citizen is there a way to make my voice heard in a useful way?)


Q:

That is a horrible way to introduce or teach someone to swim. That tends to instill a fear that takes a lot of time to get rid of.

Everything swimming is taught in progressions, one of those progressions is starting shallow and working your way deeper and deeper.

It is never the instructors decision on how fast the swimmer progresses, it is up to the swimmer. Comfort level is huge and a major part of my job is building trust. Kids trust me and if I erode that trust by taking them to deep water before they are ready they will regress. I've seen it happen before.

A:

Clearly, Sonic is in the minority when it comes to our position and advocacy around topics like neutrality, privacy, and competitive policy. We're the good guys.

As for why it's important, there are two primary points:

1) A better internet is a healthy internet, and our success is thanks to all the wonderful innovation out there on the net that you want access to. We sell subscriptions to the internet. You love the internet, and we are just the conduit to get there. (And we won't sell out on items like neutrality or privacy, that would violate both our members and the internet as a whole.)

2) Competitive outcomes of policy. While we can protect our customers on privacy, and we can run a neutral network, if our industry peers are permitted to exploit consumers and online sites and apps, the money they make on that may tilt the playing field. In other words, if Cable can get $5 for selling your browsing history, and $5 for slowing down your gaming and video, while we do not, we might find it challenging to compete on price. Result: current monopoly is entrenched. They need to be disrupted!

(As a non-US citizen, I'm not sure how you'll have a real voice in US policy. But do support the organizations that align with your policy feelings, like the EFF, and spread the word about Sonic.)


Q:

As an instructor, I think this is one of the worst ways to do it. Teaching progressions is honestly the way to go.

A:

As someone from outside the US, why does this matter to me?


Q:

Yep! Progressions are the best.

A:

Because if US carriers can charge sites for usage, speed and latency, you're likely to see less innovative new applications and services on the internet. In other words, the next Netflix might not happen, or might cost twice the price due to the toll they'd be paying. (Do you think Cable companies LIKE the fact that consumers are not cutting the cord in record numbers, switching to over the top services like Hulu, SlingTV and YouTube?) And this isn't just streaming video: any site, service, peer-to-peer application or IOT device that uses a lot of bandwidth or has a need for low latency could be affected. That means gaming, VR and augmented reality, or something new we haven't even seen yet.

The other important note, for those in the US: in a non-neutral internet world, if you're going to sell a fast lane, you have to put everything else into the slow lane first. Increase latency a bit, so Playstation and Xbox networks have to buy lower latency. Cap monthly usage, so that streaming video sites have to pay for more. Think of it this way: If you're Big Cable, and you've got a near-monopoly nationally on high-speed access, why wouldn't you find every way to extract fees from consumers and websites and applications, all while limiting the spending on upgrades to the network to the absolute minimum?


Q:

Hey! I've been a WSI for over 5 years now! Do you like LSS or Red Cross programs more?

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:

In BC we teach Red Cross programs because LSS and Red Cross made a deal. Red Cross runs lessons and LSS does guarding. So I have never taught LSS swim lessons.

I think the Red Cross Preschool program should be broken up into more levels to make easier progressions and so parents don't feel like they are getting ripped of if their kid incompletes.

I am a big fan of LSS programs though.

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:

Shout out to all my fellow Fox 40 blowers.

Is there really another whistle out there worth owning?

A:

What're you currently doing to make it right?


Q:

No, Fox 40 is the way to go. Own 3 and I'm looking to buy more colors!

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:

Are there certain people that just cannot learn to swim?

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:

There are those kids that some instructors say swimming is not their sport; but I believe everyone can learn to swim. Swimming requires a lot of practice to develop muscle memory and proper technique. There are many different learner types so sometimes skills aren’t picked up right away, so as instructors we are trained in many different ways to teach so it applies to all learner types. Some times kids just don’t get it till you say or do something different then it clicks.

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:

How do I prevent water from getting in my eyes when I'm in the shower?

A:

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


Q:

Dive mask / googles.

A:

All of them.


Q:

You want me to use Googles in the shower? Won't my phone get wet?

A:

Heya Dane - thanks for doing this!

My question is what can I - and other teenagers like myself who value the internet as it is - do on a local level, to ensure the battle for net neutrality is fought and eventually won?


Q:

Large hamster ball is the way to go then.

A:

Today this issue rests with the FCC, where three Commissioners will decide whether to reverse the Title II categorization of broadband internet access or not. Key in this is Chairman Ajit Pai, who has most of the control over the outcome of this. Hopefully he will listen to the public, rather than large Cable and Telco carriers! Voice your opposition at https://www.battleforthenet.com/


Q:

Swim Instructor here! Love my job but I find that the parents are the hardest part

How do you convince parents that swimming is not just a sport but rather a life skill?

A:

Are there any plans to expand gigabit to San Mateo? I was following updates while living in the Sunset but have since moved south. While we do have options like Wave G, they have not been as candid or transparent regarding net neutrality and other topics as Sonic.


Q:

Would your child be able to survive an unexpected fall in to deep water?

And bringing up Drowning statistics like "In Canada, drowning is the No. 1 cause of unintentional injury deaths among children 1-4 years of age, and the second leading cause of preventable death for children under 10 years."

Puts swimming into perspective for a lot of parents.

A:

Sonic is expanding our gigabit fiber service as rapidly as we can, but for competitive reasons we no longer provide advance information about planned markets. But you can support our expansion by being a member on our copper of fiber-to-the-node services, or by spreading the word about Sonic to others. More members == more fiber!


Q:

Do you know what the number one preventable cause of death is?

A:

Dane,

I strongly support net neutrality and really wish you'd hurry up and get fiber to my area of SF. But out of interest, how would you respond to Comcast and other providers arguments that they have no interest in throttling the internet and that instead this is just an attempt certain big internet companies (e.g. Netflix) to hoist costs on the service providers. I think this argument isn't totally invalid, but I also doubt Comcast really wants to stop there. Thoughts?


Q:

Car crashes I believe.

A:

The idea of Netflix etc causing costs for carriers is specious. Consumers buy X Mbps and Y Gigabytes each month, and if they want to stream Netflix using that capacity, there should be no barrier to doing so. Interconnection between content and consumers is only logical, if you accept that consumers have paid for capacity and access. Trying to charge Netflix (etc) is double dipping!

(Our fiber reach in SF is growing quickly, thank you for switching when it arrives!)


Q:

I'm a lifeguard currently on my break at the pool!

For what reasons have you seen lifeguards get fired? I had a couple of guys jump off the roof of a building into the pool after their shift, recorded them doing it and put it on snapchat. They got fired so fast.

A:

what would be the difficulty in expanding sonic into offering wireless services as an MVNO?


Q:

Kids drowning in their classes where a Lifeguard has to jump in, and not jumping in during an obvious drowning where a guard had to run down from the top of the water slide and still got there first.

A:

The MVNO underlying carrier (VZ/ATT/Tmo/Sp) would set the terms, and we would have little opportunity for innovation beyond customer service and package design. (See: Ting. They are doing real well on those components, but we don't need Sonic to be another Ting.)


Q:

How long can you hold your breath under water?

A:

would setting up your own wireless networks be cost prohibitive? what are the more interesting ideas you've explored in this avenue but decided were not for you?


Q:

Not sure how long but I have swam 25m ~ without coming up for air.

A:

In the mobile space, national coverage is needed, and spectrum for LTE and 5g in every market. The US has four carriers, and today only DISH has the spectrum to contemplate a new national network. (But they won't build it themselves, IMHO.)

For residential 250Mbps to 1000Mbps speeds, wireless isn't yet viable at scale for single-family-dwellings. That's likely to evolve, with CBRS, mmWave and massive-MIMO all coming down the pipe, but today fiber is the better answer.


Q:

At first I though you meant minutes and I was like "Holy Fucking shit dude!"

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:

When you sprout gills and never come out of the water...

A:

Yes!


Q:

Fellow lifeguard here.

Why did you become a lifeguard/instructor?

A:

After everything I've read on net neutrality why would anyone want it? What are the positives being portrayed by promoters of ending it?


Q:

I have always loved swimming after starting from a very early age. My parents encouraged me to go and take my Bronze Medallion and Cross. Towards the end of High School, I decided it would be a good job so I finished the rest of my certifications.

A:

Some carriers have promoted overturning network neutrality on the premise that they could then offer some applications "fast lanes". For a fee. That's innovation...in billing! Not really good for consumers.


Q:

Why can't I tread water?

A:

Improper technique? Hard to say without looking. Are you using egg beater? Try big, wide, slow movements to increase surface area and not tired yourself out.


Q:

How do you feel about Ellis&Associates?

A:

The Lifesaving Society has taken Ellis & Associates 10/20 Patron Protection Rule and has adapted it to the 10-30 scan rule that we use in Canada.

I don't know a lot about Ellis & Associates but they seem good.


Q:

Hello I am a student in a school who mandatory teaches swimming and we had to swim in the 10 feet pool (i cannot swim) and now I cant stand swimming and just watching swimming videos terrifies me. Any advice for me?

A:

Talk to your local pool about Adult beginner or fearful Adult Lessons. Talk with your instructor about your specific goals and they will work with you to reach them. Swimming can be a hard skill to learn by yourself.


Q:

I used to be a part time lifeguard and didn't find very much money in the job. How well off would you say you are compared to the satisfaction and enjoyment of the work? <-- Former lifeguard who loved his job

A:

I'm lucky because where I am guarding pays well. Upwards of $20 CAN an hour. I make good money and I hope to make even more as I move up positions and work longer. I love my job so much that's why I want to continue to work in Aquatics.


Q:

Fellow lifeguard and instructor here! Our facility is about to add a Junior Lifeguarding program for ages 12-15, and I was asked to instruct. What do you think are some of the most important things for them to know if they are interested in becoming a guard?

Edit: Thought of another question to add on. What's your favorite stroke?

A:

Junior Lifeguard Club is lots of fun. Building up there endurance and treading is a great idea in preparation for guarding. That seems to be the area most candidates struggle in for Bronze courses.

Scanning drills are also a lot of fun such as spotting certain objects hidden around the pool. As well as learning and hand signals to communicate with each other.

Favorite Stroke is front crawl for sprint, breast stroke for relaxing.


Q:

I'm not trained in anyway but I have saved two people from drowning before. Does the super adrenaline rush ever subside?

A:

Anytime I hear a whistle or during a major I still get it.


Q:

Was a lifeguard at a country club. The hill coming down to the pool was the source of 4 golf cart injuries in one summer. So that I guess.

A:

Probably the deep end. Our guards are pretty good at preventing incidents before they become problems.


Q:

I see that all the references now seem to reference Lifesaving Society.

Is the RLSS no longer a thing?

Source: got my bronze medallion at 17 through the RLSS while living in Ontario.

A:

Same agency, changed their name.


Q:

Have you ever hired a cam girl to pretend like she's drowning (sorry)?

A:

Nope, lol!


Q:

What is your favorite kind of cheese 🧀?

A:

White cheddar