Siuslaw River Bridge at Dusk

Net-Neutrality Repeal Protests; Toys For Tots; Fire Rating Improves

Will Net-Neutrality Repeal Effect Rural Oregon?

What will repealing net-neutrality rules mean for communities in rural America? Public-interest groups say it could present unique challenges. The Federal Communications Commission will vote next week on chairman Ajit Pai’s proposal to roll back current rules that force internet providers to offer the same internet speeds to all sites. Pai says these regulations are onerous and unnecessary. But Jessica Gonzalez, deputy director and senior counsel for the group Free Press, says most rural communities only have one internet provider and those providers could do as they please if the rule is repealed.

201 “We can’t vote with our feet when it comes to how we’re getting our access to the internet, and that really is the main reason why we need to regulate internet access providers – to ensure that they’re not blocking, throttling or prioritizing certain traffic on the internet.”

Protests against the repeal of net neutrality are planned for Today  in front of Verizon stores across the country. Pai is a former attorney for Verizon. You can find local protests at verizonprotests.com.  The rule change would reclassify internet providers – currently classified as telecommunications services – as information services. Gonzalez says one of the biggest issues with getting rid of net neutrality is that it takes away fair regulation of the internet, and that could hurt businesses if a provider decides to steer traffic away from them. 

202: “If rural folks do not have net neutrality, it means that they will not be guaranteed that they can reach (an) audience, that they can reach customers if they’re running a business from their home, and that they will have equal access to the news and information and things they need to survive and thrive.”

The F-C-C also has proposed scaling back the Lifeline program, which provides phone and internet service at a subsidized rate to low-income Americans. Gonzalez says this would hurt rural communities because the program is used by many people in these communities.

Toys For Tots Distribution

Holiday events are gearing up all around Florence with opportunities for individuals to give back to the community.  One such event is the United States Marine Corp’s Toys for Tots.  The annual toy drive brings in thousands of toys for children and this year the Siuslaw Valley Fire and Rescue is working with the Marines for toy distribution.  The date for the gift giving will be Tuesday, December 12th at the main fire station at 2525 highway 101.  The toys are geared for children ages infant to 14 years.  The Marines Toys for Tots is celebrating 30 years of giving back.  Lane county residency documentation is required and more  information is available at svfr.org or the Siuslaw Valley Fire and Rescue’s Facebook page.

Property Insurance Could Decrease

Siuslaw Valley Fire and Rescue has released their Improved Fire Protection rating.  According to a release from Fire Chief Jim Langborg the entity that reviews fire districts for their ability to protect communities in the event of a fire has increased their rating for SVFR.  Previously the department had scored a 5/10 rating and that was improved to a 4/10  rating.  Which means that properties that are located within 5 road miles from a fire station could receive discounts on their property  insurance.  Other properties that are located within 5 to 7 road miles could also receive lower premiums.  Siuslaw Valley Fire and Rescue recommends that you contact your insurance provider to see if you qualify.  More information is available at svfr.org