Streaming services changing the price of entertainment

You can’t put a price on fun, unless you’re talking about an unlimited service/access of entertainment under $10. Streaming services of entertainment such a Netflix, HBO GO, Spotify, Tidal and more are dominating people’s screens and monthly bank accounts transactions. Music and film lovers such as Audrey Matusz are not afraid to drop cash for streaming services. “I stay on the go, but don’t want to have to miss my favorite show like Insecure, or miss new music albums drop. Plus, I am barely ever home to watch TV or chill on my laptop.

Bill would require Internet safety courses in schools

By MICHAEL KRANSZ
Capital News Service
LANSING — Although some schools teach students about Internet dangers, a recently introduced House bill would require it. The bill, spearheaded by Rep. Robert Wittenberg, D-Oak Park, and co-sponsored by Reps. Lee Chatfield, R-Levering, and Aaron Miller, R-Sturgis, among others, would mandate public schools teach an “age-appropriate” Internet safety course in grades 1 through 12 at least once per year. By the time students graduate, they would be taught to recognize and report cyber bullying, sexual predation and copyright infringements, along with how to protect private information. Wittenberg said he saw a need for Internet education in Michigan’s curriculum after speaking with superintendents in his district who were distraught about student behavior online and the lack of support materials for teachers.

Push underway to expand fast Internet service in rural areas

By AMELIA HAVANEC
Capital News Service
LANSING – A vast majority of state residents have access to high-speed Internet, a tool which the global marketplace increasingly relies on, according to the Telecommunication Association of Michigan. Even so, pockets of the state still struggle with slow broadband speeds. “The broadband industry is based on household density,” said Eric Frederick, executive director of Connect Michigan and Connected Nation’s vice president of community affairs. “Broadband providers need a certain number of customers in an area in order to make their build-out of infrastructure profitable.”

Connect Michigan is a nonprofit tech organization that works to expand broadband. At its annual conference this month, speakers pushed for innovative ways to raise the supply and demand for broadband infrastructure in rural areas.

Supreme Court mulls more privacy in protection order cases

By DARCIE MORAN
Capital News Service
LANSING — After some courts failed to comply with federal law, a proposed rule by the Michigan’s Supreme Court aims to stop courts from posting individuals’ personal information on the Internet. “The point of it is to protect individuals that might be the victims of stalking or other crimes,” said John Nevin, communications director for the court. But some judges worry the new rule is redundant and too vague. Currently, a federal law shields those with protection orders from having their information put on the Internet, Nevin said. But Nevin said the proposed rule would draw more attention and reinforce the federal law.

Michigan farmers seek better Internet access

By BECKY McKENDRY
Capital News Service
LANSING – For farmers, tablets are becoming as common as tractors… and that means higher demand for broadband Internet access. Farmers are increasingly turning to technology to help track weather, map the spreading of fertilizers and seeds, and follow prices for input and services. But Internet access in rural areas lags behind urban areas. Around one-third of rural households and farms nationwide lack broadband Internet, according to the most recent report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Internet creates opportunities at northern Michigan schools

By STEPHEN INGBER
Capital News Service
LANSING — For a long time, the Upper Peninsula and the northern part of the Lower Peninsula have lacked access to high-speed Internet, but that’s changing, education and technology experts say. Merit Network Inc., which promotes computer networking in Michigan, won a $103 million grant from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to provide fiber-optic cable to “community anchor institutions.”
The focus for Merit was primarily on K-12 education and libraries, said Elwood Downing, vice president of member relations, communications, services and product development at the Ann Arbor-based nonprofit company. With the grant, Merit laid 2,300 miles of fiber-optic cable across the U.P. and the northern half of the Lower Peninsula. “The Cheboygan-Otsego-Presque Isle Educational Service District benefited the most, having almost no connectivity before we came in,” Downing said. The district is headquartered in Indian River.