Net Neutrality…is it a good thing?

Wow when you search Net Neutrality or NN on reddit the subreddits that show up span from politics, conspiracy, technology, to thewaroncomast! It seems NN can spill over into any conversation topic.

My initial sentiment on the subject of NN is, “yeah keep the internet open to all, enough said.” Living in the US we hear reports that Google and Yahoo have to censor their search engines in countries where the freedom of press is not a right. Example of that being in China, where you can’t search for current events like Tiananmen Square. So with the possibility of a corporate take over of the internet set to happen in America. Naturally the web starts buzzing with negative comments towards companies like Comcast and then David Cross calls someone a corporate shill, and that’s when things get out of control.

Here’s David Cross if you don’t know who he is.

So why would there even be a debate about regulating something like the internet,  we live in a free democratic society?

Well it may have to do with the cost of maintaining and or improving the infrastructure of the internet. Reading the very recent article by Maggie Reardon 13 things you need to know about NN. One of the recent commenters Deutoronomy, makes some lengthy points that sound reasonable. To sum up the points they go something like this. How do most improvements happen for public utilities that are privately owned? Through private investments or costs that are passed onto the consumer. Infrastructure upgrades for the internet will most likely happen the same way. Streaming services like Netflix, gobbles up one GB of data per hour for each standard definition video and up to 3 GB for HD.

If we want a blazing fast internet it looks unfortunately we’re going to have to pay for it. With so many applications, online services (Netflix, Hulu, AppleTV), smart home appliances (thermostats, refrigerators, washers) all connected to the internet. Someone is going to have to prioritize who gets what, and at what speed. If you’re expecting to continue piggybacking off your neighbors Wifi and use these services, your in for a surprise.

The chance to perverse the internet with tactics like throttling or directing you to advertisements will always be there. I think it comes down to two options, either we have an slowly expanding internet dictated by little investment and control. Or we have a blazing fast internet that will cost you more, but the service will be lightyears ahead.

With all your smart gadgets could you compromise with having internet that is free (not regulated by the private companies) but your bandwidth is slow and capped? Or would you consider paying extra for really fast speeds but with the possibility of seeing more advertisements?

Here’s some Futurama humor to get you started.

bender

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25 thoughts on “Net Neutrality…is it a good thing?

  1. adrianhormsby April 9, 2015 / 2:55 pm

    Hi Evan, the corporation would like us to think that there are only 2 either/or options on this issue, in fact that’s how they’re selling it to the public and congress, all in the name of innovation and the betterment of America. But as the readings show it’s not that simple. ISP’s like the media are fast becoming a monopoly and everybody knows that monopolies do all they can to stamp out any rivals. They want us to think that the only way to get faster service is to pay for it, this argument however totally ignores the efficiency increases that come from innovations in technology. For instance, look at how computers have become smaller with more memory and speed. How does that happen ? by healthy competition raising the bar on hardware R&D and offering it at a better price than the competition. This is not happening with Internet infrastructure, and why not? Because there’s no incentive for a monopoly to innovate, they would rather spend nothing on infrastructure innovation and just carve up existing lines with a slow and fast lane for those willing or more accurately able to pay. It’s a win-win for them, they don’t spend a penny for anything extra yet can charge a premium for a fast service that with even modest effort they could provide to everyone. It’s actually less about free speech and equal access but more about hardcore economics and corporate politics. Make no mistake, the corporation will not give up on this issue because they have billions of dollars at stake. It’s much more cost effective for them to spend big on lobbying congress than to truly compete. As Lessig argued about the media, the more it approaches a monopoly the more money they make by eliminating the need to compete on price and efficiency. Freedom of speech and equal access are pure casualties of the bigger corporate money war that they are waging to increase profits no matter what. They know they have a capital advantage and they are using it. It’s going to be a hard road ahead and I think it’s the corporation and not we the people who has the advantage.

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    • efekete April 10, 2015 / 10:30 am

      Hey Adrian, corporations do have a lot of resources, but this class has shown us that the online community can pull together and make change happen when the odds are stacked against the few. I agree that a monopoly would decrease the likelihood of innovation. Personally I think privatizing utilities is a double edged sword, your going to have reliability & service go up, but then your at the mercy of private companies. I like your point that equal access & free speech are just by chance caught in the crosshairs of corporate lobbying. It’s crazy to consider its cheaper to spend money on lobbying than to better your existing infrastructure. You think that companies would simply invest in themselves, rather than side step that issue completely.

      Liked by 1 person

    • bjuhasz10 April 11, 2015 / 10:30 am

      Adrian,

      I completely agree with your original point. Since I study electrical/computer engineering, the first thing that came to mind is Moore’s law, which states that ” processor speeds, or overall processing power for computers will double every two years.” (http://www.mooreslaw.org/) Put more broadly and simply, technology will continue becoming faster, cheaper, and smaller. However, this doesn’t seem to be the case with ISP. My comcast bill has been steadily increasing since as log as I can remember. In cases, internet speeds have been decreasing at certain times.

      Have you noticed how HDTV’s have gotten so much thinner over the last 5 years, and increasingly cheaper? Laptops are more and more powerful, yet continue to get smaller and smaller? My iPhone 6 has more processing power and better graphics than most laptops did just a few years ago. However, the internet speeds and rates are stagnant, as Adrian pointed out. And I agree that at the end of the day, much of this debate is about economics and politics. Monopolizing certainly decreases the need for innovation and staying up to date, and I think that increased competition would give us both thing we want: faster speeds, and lower costs.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Carly Hernandez April 9, 2015 / 4:48 pm

    I think I would rather have a slower internet and not having to pay for it than have internet that is filled with advertisements even while I’m paying for it. We already pay for our service providers, internet providers and plenty of other things that we use daily. It’s important to keep the internet free and not controlled by the monopolizing businesses and ISPs. It is one of the many few things that we don’t have regulated or have to pay for. We already see enough advertisements on almost every web page we open so why would we want to add more? The list of rules that the FCC came up with are to control the companies and not the internet which is important to understand. I don’t think that any of us would really enjoy being censored and not being able to search certain things in the same way that China isn’t allowed to do so. In the article you linked to called “13 Things You Need to Know About Net Neutrality” it said that throttling was actually banned by the FCC in their new rules for Net Neutrality. I as well think that advertisements will always be there since everything we do has to have some way for businesses to make money. But when does it become too much? It will always be the corporations that have the upper hand in situations like this and will only get worse as time goes on. The monopoly between ISPs is concerning and the more power we give to them the more power is taken away from us. You would think that since all of us need these types of services like the internet (Comcast, Verizon, and Broadband) they would understand how much we already have to pay for so many different things. It always comes down to money and in this case our freedom of speech.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. efekete April 10, 2015 / 10:41 am

    Nice post Carly, yeah the concept of throttling is totally unethical in my opinion. And I’m glad to hear that steps have been taken to protect us as consumers from that. What if online political advertisements became targets of throttling? I don’t know the rules of political donations during election season, but what if a candidate was subjected to this because he or she was unfavored by ISP’s? It’s a slippery slope.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. mvzang April 11, 2015 / 3:08 am

    The old saying “you get what you pay” comes to mind when reading your blog. While I agree that most of us don’t want slower internet speeds, I also think were being taken to the cleaners for internet service as it is. Have you seen the average Comcast internet bill lately? It’s already ridiculous. It seems as though the ISP companies are saying they won’t be able to maintain the speeds we have now unless we pay more. As a person who doesn’t use much bandwidth, I see it as absurd that rates keep increasing because Johnny Netflix and Jimmy World of Warcraft use most of the bandwidth.

    Lately doing our readings in class, surfing the internet or just trying to watch some videos on YouTube, I can’t imagine seeing more advertisements! There is nothing worse than your page taking its sweet old time to load just to realize you’ve been downloading a bunch of different advertisements. Like I said before, I think the rates are already outrageous, but I actually think I would pay a little more to not have to see another advertisement. I just hope that the speeds we see now don’t get any slower.

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  5. cseejay April 11, 2015 / 7:08 am

    I think structure wise there’s not question that it cost companies a lot of money to get to the point were they could even call themselves a player in the Internet game. Google has somewhat shown that with their more recent expansion of Google Fiber. What consumers desperately need are more companies that are willing to make the jump and involve themselves, because this issue present a lot of problems long term. Dare I say, I actually think the first few companies that really take a stab at Internet will make a fairly large impact. So large companies like Google I’ve been patiently waiting for expand to more cities because they offer speeds for a price they claim, won’t change. I personally don’t see 1GB up/down will be considered average anytime soon. In areas where Google Fiber is available companies like Comcast and AT&T will have to increase their speeds to compete. I personally think it’s a market that seems like (from the outside) if we had a company that could change the Internet like Vizio changed television there would be huge positive implications for consumers. The fact that there are only two major competitors tells us that it might be more difficult than dropping a sum of money and selling cheaper Internet to consumers. Though we’re fighting two corporations on this issue, I actually think more corporations getting involved help the problem.

    Like

    • efekete April 12, 2015 / 8:42 pm

      @cseejay I like the points you bring up of larger companies knocking down the door, than having smaller companies move in and compete for dollars. I think it is silly to pick on just two companies (At&T, Comcast). Having more ISP options will keep compete costs in line with consumer demand.

      Like

  6. galaradi April 11, 2015 / 2:32 pm

    Honestly, I would rather pay extra to get fast internet than have free internet that is slow. That is just my personal preference. I get very frustrated when I’m on Netflix, trying to watch a show, and it’s very slow. I think big corporations like Verizon and Comcast should not have all this power. The more powerful they are, the more control they have over how fast or slow our internet is. Although I don’t agree with the advertisements everywhere, I do think that is always going to be there. I’d rather suffer through advertisements on websites than have slow internet.

    I do agree that censorship is wrong and we should not have that in a free country. Other countries however, do censor their internet. After the Arab Spring, internet censorship increased in the Middle East. People were careful of what to search for and some websites were completely blocked. Net Neutrality is extremely important to the freedom of expression, and it is related to human rights and democracy.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. bubbastinx April 11, 2015 / 10:06 pm

    I’d like to start out that I agree with many of my classmates initial response to this topic. I for one do not think that the privatization of the internet is a good thing, for a variety of reasons that I hope to clearly illustrate.

    First, I believe in today’s society that access to the internet in regards to education and general knowledge, ought to be a human right.

    The advancement of technology accelerates the separation of demographics of people. That could fall into a caste system.

    Don’t believe me, attempt to do a research paper, or do homework without access to an internet. Now, how about looking for employment?

    Second, the author of this post echoed a fallacy that was caught by my astute peers. “I think it comes down to two options, either we have an slowly expanding internet dictated by little investment and control,” as stated by the author.

    This idea creates a false dilemma projecting to the reader that there are only two choices. When this isn’t the true.

    Third, we can simply look at history, and see how economics have created many innovations, and just as manydestroyed because their wasn’t sizable margins to be captured by corporations.

    “So why would there even be a debate about regulating something like the internet, we live in a free democratic society,” as stated by the author.

    We really don’t live in a free democratic society. This is the misconception of most Americans.

    We live within a society that is a hybrid between Oligarchy and Democracy. Our judicial process, such as jury selection is a true democracy. Everyone has a fair shout at being selected for that position. The selection process is done by a lottery system.

    Our politics and rules are written, financed by the wealthy. So the system that we live under is a hybrid.

    As far as free markets, I think not. This link: http://tinyurl.com/83dkqu2 illustrates how ten companies controls the vast majority of food brands in America.

    Want more?

    Here is another link: http://www.businessinsider.com/these-6-corporations-control-90-of-the-media-in-america-2012-6

    This shows how many corporations control the media that you consume.

    So are we still kicking the idea of free society around?

    At the end of the day, I’d rather have a small tax for the internet, and keep it relatively open, and uncontrolled instead of being placed within a intellectual and psychological chokehold.

    Like

  8. blcarr April 12, 2015 / 10:22 am

    This sounds like the hare vs the tortoise. Do we want slow and steady internet? Or do we want the fast internet which we pay for and would often crash? We are all about fast and on time service be it in the fastfood industry or in the shopping world ect. But when it comes to internet service we wouldn’t mind slow and steady! Is it because we want to avoid the popups and advertisements? Im all for paying for faster production, I can get my work done in a timely fashion which would make more time for browsing the internet. If you think about it, we are already paying the provider be it xfinity and broadband or if we are using our phones, apple, sprint, verizon ect. So why not pay the extra for a faster experience? So we are worried about ISP’s and the money the major companies are making off of the public? No matter what we do, the big companies will always have the first and last say so no matter how much we complain about how they need us to survive. We also need them as well. Until we come up with our own plan to challenge them in the world and in the boardroom, our freedom of speech wont be so free.

    Like

  9. spgregor April 12, 2015 / 3:52 pm

    I think we should all have a personal choice to choose either a faster internet with advertisements or a slower internet without them. I don’t feel one collective choice works for everyone and shouldn’t be forced upon all. I for one am fine with the internet I currently have. I personally don’t do a lot of downloading, etc. and have no need for the fastest speed and therefore don’t want to be forced to pay more for something I wont use. As it is I feel I am being nickel and dimed every time my bill goes up, which it seems to every few months for some new “fee” that I must now be responsible for. As for the advertisements, I can’t imagine them ever going away as they help corporations and at the end of the day it is about corporations making and saving money. There is no way a monopoly of ISPs should be allowed as that is one of the great things this country is supposed to allow everyone equal opportunity to – success if they work hard enough. However, it isn’t the first time we have seen power given to a few companies and they elbow out small competitors.

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  10. jaemillz411 April 12, 2015 / 4:26 pm

    Good post.

    I am going to be honest, when I first started using YouTube I loved it. I would spent hours on the website watching cute kittens, clips from my favorite television shows, and even Do It Yourself videos. Then a couple of years ago I noticed a lot of commercials that started popping up before the video started. And in the beginning I was annoyed having to wait, but now after five seconds I just click the skip button after the first five seconds and continue viewing the video I intended on watching. It is still sort of annoying, but I have gotten used to it. And I understand why YouTube had to do it, so I endure it for the sake of my entertainment. But in today’s society it is all about instant gratification. We want everything right now and on our own terms. But if I could not have both I think I would pay extra for the speed with the possibility of more advertisements. Because either way you have to compromise something, so I might as well have the speed. But this is the type of dilemma we will face when you are purchasing a service. The supply is in the hands of big corporations so they set the standard and we have to decide what we are willing to endure for the service. And at the end of the day it does matter whether you pay for a service or not because corporations will always find a way to sell something to us.

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  11. seananthony3 April 12, 2015 / 5:55 pm

    Isn’t “paying for a service and get advertisements for it” basically what Microsoft does with Xbox Live? I’ve personally never owned an Xbox 360, but a common complaint I’ve heard a few years ago was that players who pay the $60 a year get bombarded with unrelated-to-gaming advertisements on their service. However, Silver, if I remember correctly, did not have advertisements, but you could not access the online gaming areas.

    Although, Net Neutrality isn’t entirely about “speed of the internet,” it’s about the access of it. With restrictions in place and having to pay for better service, you are not able to access all of the websites you need to. This hurts not just the consumer, but the provider as well. They have to hope that their website will be reached by everyone. In the end, it just creates more of a hassle for everyone except for the provider.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. rmpaulk April 12, 2015 / 6:10 pm

    I use the internet a lot so, I would say that I would definitely pay extra. I would probably pay extra for ad free content, if that were possible, as I cannot stand ads and have paid for a Spotify premium account to get rid of the ads. There are some devices where I would be willing to deal with slow, capped, free data. Like maybe on my kindle. I mean I use the school internet all the time and that is terrible. It picks and chooses when to work, its slow and unreliable, but yet I use it because its “free”. I don’t really see the problem with having to pay for higher speeds. We already do that today. I, personally, don’t have my current home wifi in my name so, I don’t know what kind of packages are offered with that, but I do know how much of a pain cellphone data is. I think it is ridiculous to pay per gig when it used to be free and unlimited. What happened? Why do I now have to pay for a certain amount and then pay double if I go over? Anyways, I would definitely pay extra to have higher speeds and better quality, but I would also take advantage of the crappy, free wifi as well because I hate ads.

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  13. asibo April 12, 2015 / 7:06 pm

    Having lived through the degraded speeds that last year brought to Netflix on my Comcast service, I can safely say that I would rather pay more for fast internet service if it means companies like Netflix and Google can buy up space on ISPs (not to mention Verizon’s 4G LTE service). The whole point of the internet, in my opinion, is the convenience which it offers, opposed to say, going to the library every time I wanted to look something up. Furthermore, I feel that the better a service that is offered, a website that loads in less than a second compared to thirty seconds, for example, the more money I would naturally expect to pay. New and better things don’t come free; it would be naive to think that better internet service would be any exception.

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  14. akuelbs April 12, 2015 / 7:37 pm

    I have no problem with paying for a faster internet with more advertisements, but there is no way that i will ever support free internet that has slower rates. I will admit that i am a huge gamer and fast internet is a big and important thing to me, but it extends more than just games. What happens to streaming services with slower internet speeds. It will make those services even harder to use and maintain because if people dont have the speed to watch videos, they wont bother with it and then the services will die. There are so many services in which we use on a daily basis that rely on a fast and reliable internet connection so they can function at rates we want them to. I will go back to the gaming aspect of it. The gaming industry and market is one of the largest growing industries around today with the growth rate increasing drastically every year. To be able to play some of these games around today, you need internet connections that are fast and reliable, otherwise you will get lag from pack loss and interrupted services because they are not as reliable. That would effect a huge industry and could even bring us back a bit because we have no way of increasing technologies with the internet. So the choice when it comes to me is a no brainer, i will pay more for faster and more reliable speeds.

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  15. nebior April 12, 2015 / 8:20 pm

    I don’t care how expensive it gets to have an internet service. I want my internet fast and I want to use it however I want to use it. Unless ISPs found a way to put advertisements into online video games I would be totally fine paying extra and or seeing advertisements. The faster the better. I know it may benefit some people to have free internet in their homes, but it would ruin the experience for everyone. There are already public libraries to provide computers and internet and now wireless internet is hard not to find in a public place. As long as someone can afford a smart device (cheaper than a computer) they have some access to the internet somewhere. I couldn’t imagine worse words to use in the same sentence with the word internet than slow or capped. To think of slow or capped internet is a terrible thing in my opinion however the internet is being used. Whether you play online games, stream video, use social media, or browse memes, nothing is worse than having to wait. To then add a limit onto slow internet would just be salting the wound. So my opinion I would take fast, expensive, advertisement polluted internet over slow and capped, yet free internet any day.

    –Ben Walker

    Liked by 1 person

  16. eakoonter April 12, 2015 / 8:54 pm

    I don’t think that we should have to choose whether to have super slow Internet for free or pay a lot for super fast Internet. I think that the Internet should be free to access and that everyone should get the same speed (not super slow, but decent). It’s ridiculous that cable companies charge outrageous prices for different speeds of Internet access. It’s not like the Internet is a new invention. It’s sad that most schools require children to do online tasks/research, but if their parents can’t afford it then they have to go out of their way to go to the public library or use school computers to complete their assignments. A lot more schools are sending kids home with iPads and laptops assuming and requiring that they have access to the Internet at home. So, why are we still paying ridiculous prices for the Internet?

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  17. kevinpayton1 April 12, 2015 / 9:45 pm

    I think that we as consumers would never be totally satisfied with any product. When we say slow Internet speed that is in comparison to what? We are not that long removed from dial up Internet that was as slow as ever. How fast must it be? If they offered faster service for a premium, people would still be disappointed and want faster service. I think the true question is in can consumers ever be really satisfied? Freedom is a very costly and valuable. It is what brings millions of people to the United States daily. Keeping NN and creating a level playing field makes it possible for technology to grow. Without the ability for smaller tech to have a equal share in the Internet, we would only see progress as what large companies allow or can produce for a profit.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Madeleine W. April 12, 2015 / 9:57 pm

    I have Sprint for my cell service, so I already deal with ridiculously slow data speeds, and I would completely be willing to pay for more if I was put in that situation. That’s exactly why I don’t want it to come to pass. I already see advertisements on every website I go to. I’m used to the worst parts of both scenarios, so those conditions really don’t make a difference to me.
    The internet is the future, and people will pay for higher speeds no matter what. I know I would. I can’t stand when a page doesn’t load quickly, or a YouTube video takes more than thirty seconds to show up on my screen. People will pay for improved services, no matter what they are.

    Like

  19. doniecew April 12, 2015 / 10:54 pm

    I personally don’t mind paying for services if it’s worth it, but putting a price on something that’s so widely used will bring down its value. It’s going to limit its services to those that can afford it. the internet has become easily accessible to almost everyone, so putting a price on it will cut off a lot of people. The ads I don’t think I can deal with, it’s extremely annoying.

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  20. mstor763 April 12, 2015 / 11:30 pm

    I personally do not care to compromise about this matter. Call me bullheaded if you want, but the internet was based for something else. As with anything though, technology changes and so has the purpose of the internet. But ultimately the roots of wanting to communicate from one device to another is still the foundation. I already pay for internet service, that payment should be going towards the infrastructure and not into the CEO pocket and businesses.

    In regards to the advertisements, I could again care less about that. There are programs out there that will bypass those ads, so bring it on.

    Like

  21. thegradytrain April 12, 2015 / 11:45 pm

    My parents ran into issues with their internet services recently because they had too many devices that demanded high speed internet. The problem only swelled when my sister and I came for the weekend and brought our devices. I did a count of the devices in the house that would be using the internet simultaneously. In that one house we had 5 Computers (1-2 which had wired connections), 4 Smartphones, 1 Smart TV, 1 Tablet, and 2 e-readers. Obviously with 9-12 devices all active at the same time on the same internet, things got a little constricted bandwidth-wise. This number of internet accessing devices is probably normal nowadays, but their 10 year old service plan was not built to handle it. The thought of anything slower or capped just restricts so much of my activities and combined with other people in the same house, it isn’t fun or productive for anybody unless you are my Dad who plays Spider Solitaire.

    I don’t mind paying for my high speed internet, I use every bit of it. As time goes on I feel like the more devices we have, we will have to pay much more for the internet. I think in order for us to be satisfied, we need to either wait til technologies like Google Chrome become available for a much greater population, or hope for much more from Municipal Cable companies so that they offer competition to big companies like Comcast.

    Like

  22. elrader2015 April 12, 2015 / 11:52 pm

    Hi there!
    I think that Net Neutrality is a much larger issue than some may think. To us, on a basic consumer level, it might appear to just be a black and white issue with two options: pay more for faster internet/deal with advertising more or don’t pay more and deal with slower speeds. Once we dive deeper though it becomes also an issue of corporate greed, as do many things in America. Now, I’m not here to judge America and go on a political rant, but anytime there is a high demand for something, big business will find a way to capitalize on it. As a society that becomes more and more plugged in and reliant on the internet as time goes by, there is an extremely high demand for internet, especially at higher speeds. The faster that technology moves, the more impatient we become with it. Instead of being absolutely amazed at the fact we have this entire network of endless information and communication at our finger tips with the touch of a button, we become increasingly irritated when we have to wait more than a few seconds for the data to load. I think that many people will be ready and willing to pay for faster web speeds, but I on the other hand wouldn’t want to out of stubborn principle. Money in politics and corporate greed run rampant in our society. To these companies, money is more important than just about anything else. Additionally, technology develops more and more every single day. I think it would be naive to think that with all of the brilliant innovators working on technology, we wouldn’t be able to produce faster internet speeds easily. The things that we are doing in the automotive world and the world of other technologies is mind blowing when you put into perspective how far we’ve come since the model T or the first telephone. The technology is out there waiting to be created, but I think that the government paired with corporate America will make us pay for what we want. As demand increases, so does profitability. So that’s my tid bit on all of this.

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