Net Neutrality is a term that is now loosely used to describe a series of rules within the Telecommunications Act which have been used to regulate Internet Service Providers (ISPs). The term was first coined by Law Professor Tim Wu in a paper that was published in 2002. While the original Telecommunications act was established in 1934, much of the rules that concern us today originated in the 1970s. This is largely due to the fact that the language used in the Telecommunications act transferred reasonably well to the early forms of the Internet which, up until the late 1990’s, still ran primarily through telephone networks.
The Recent History of Net Neutrality Legislation (2000 – 2009)
In the early 2000’s ISPs started rolling out new network technologies that were built separately from the already existing telephone networks. ISPs collectively decided that these newer technologies—namely broadband and DSL—were not subject to the same regulation as earlier forms of Internet service. Under this assumption, ISPs began to experiment with a number of practices which were a direct affront to earlier, established ideals about the free nature of the Internet and how it should function.
Most consumers did not approve of these practices, and in 2004 the acting chair of the FCC, Michael Powell, reacted by putting forth a series of guidelines. These guidelines are known as The Four Internet Freedoms and were largely built by updating principles that were established in the original Telecommunications Act:
- Freedom to access content
- Freedom to use applications
- Freedom to attach personal devices
- Freedom to obtain service plan information
The Four Internet Freedoms would serve as the basis for regulating ISPs, effectively standing in as the Net Neutrality framework of the time. However, these rules were constantly challenged by ISPs, both in legal battles or by intentional disobedience.
The Mounting Controversy (2010 – Present)
In 2010, the then acting FCC passed a series of rules to strengthen the functioning Net Neutrality legislation set by the previous FCC. However, those rules were quickly challenged by ISPs and would be largely dismantled after a series of losses in federal appeals courts. Following this failure to establish a coherent Net Neutrality framework, a group of ISPs led by Comcast colluded to purposefully slow Internet traffic to the up and coming company Netflix in 2012. The ISPs then charged Netflix a fee for restoring and maintaining unrestricted bandwidth for future use.
After another series of failures in federal court cases brought by ISPs, the FCC passed a new set of rules in 2015. These rules were unique because they designated broadband and DSL Internet networks as Title II scheduling under the Telecommunications act. Shortly thereafter in 2016, a federal appeals court decided to uphold the FCC’s new rules and designation, in response to a challenge brought by ISPs. This victory would effectively protect broadband and DSL under all previously established telecommunications laws, while also strengthening the FCC’s position to enforce new legislation.
The Current FCC’s Recent Decision (2017)
The recent decision by the current FCC, on December 14th 2017, was to overturn the designation that was established in 2015, removing broadband and DSL from any protections under the Telecommunications Act. This single move has effectively disabled all legislation that was once colloquially known as Net Neutrality.
A Future without Net Neutrality
The recent decision by the current FCC has essentially given each individual ISP free reign over how they build out broadband networks. Consumer advocacy groups are rightfully concerned with the possibility that ISPs will abandon the End-to-End network philosophy that has made the Internet an interconnected and flexible tool across so many different platforms. ISPs contend that this reduction in regulation will allow them to build better products and offer better services. However given their history, it seems at least as likely that ISPs will revert back to their unpopular, pre-Net-Neutrality practices—like blocking, throttling, and prioritizing content.
CenturyLink is Committed to Customers
Unlike a lot of ISPs, CenturyLink is almost exclusively invested in providing you with high-speed Internet access to the content that you want. Due to the high public interest and unpopular reception of the FCC’s recent decision, it is unlikely that any ISPs will be making any drastic changes anytime soon.
Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and if you’re like more than half of all Americans, you’re already stockpiling chocolate, roses, and candy galore. You might also be about to indulge in one of America’s most popular February pastimes: watching your favorite Hallmark movies.
“Their movies are as comforting as programming can be,” said movie producer Brad Krevoy in an interview for a Business Insider article. This is in part because viewers can always rely on a happy ending and a feel-good vibe throughout each flick.
The Hallmark Channel—home to hundreds of feel-good romance and holiday movies—is one of the only cable channels that saw an uptick in views over the past few years. With 85 million reported viewers in November and December of 2016, Hallmark often tied for viewership with ESPN and Fox News. Whether you adore Hallmark movies or think they’re too saccharine to make for good TV, the channel is destined to remain one of the most popular (and powerful) around.
Below, you’ll find each continental state’s favorite 2017 Hallmark original. The analyst team at Internet Service Partners used IMDB’s list of the most popular Hallmark movies made in 2017. We plugged each of the top ten movie titles into Google Search Trends to determine which state was searching for which movie most frequently. Our time range was Jan 1, 2017 to Jan 1, 2018.
#1: Murder, She Baked: Just Desserts
Fourteen states searched Murder, She Baked: Just Desserts more frequently than any other Hallmark movie on our list, making it the most popular Hallmark movie nationwide.
If you haven’t seen the film, you can guess based on the title that this movie isn’t your typical cozy romance. Instead, it’s the latest in a series of five film adaptations of Joanne Fluke’s Hannah Swensen murder mystery series. The films and books follow professional baker Hannah Swensen as she works to solve murder mysteries, butting heads (and kindling romantic tension) with Detective Mike Kingston.
The Murder, She Baked series’ popularity indicates that Americans prefer their romances with a healthy dose of suspense that can bring the heroine and hero together for good.
Murder, She Baked ranked first in the following states and districts:
- The District of Columbia
- New Mexico
- South Dakota
#2: The Christmas Cottage
The Christmas Cottage tells the story of Lacey Quinn, a woman who, in spite of being engaged and acting as the maid of honor for her best friend, doesn’t believe in true love. Her feelings might change when she and her former beau are stranded at the Christmas Cottage, the cozy cabin Lacey is decorating for the bride to be and where couples who stay overnight are destined for lasting true love.
Along with illustrating Hallmark watchers’ love of Christmas movies, The Christmas Cottage’s popularity indicates that Americans are looking for reasons to overcome cynicism and believe in idealism this year.
The Christmas Cottage took the cake in the following states:
- New Hampshire
- North Dakota
- West Virginia
#3: The Birthday Wish
In The Birthday Wish, the main character, Gwen, desperately wants her boyfriend to propose to her. A supernatural twist lets her pay a visit to the future, where she learns that a different romantic outcome could be better for her in the long run.
The movie features recurring Hallmark heartthrob Luke MacFarlane along with a healthy dose of cuddly on-screen puppies, so it’s little wonder this film was the top search in states as far apart as California and Massachusetts:
- New Jersey
- New York
If you want to check out The Birthday Wish for yourself, it next airs on Hallmark on Friday, March 9th.
#4: A Royal Winter and My Favorite Wedding
A Royal Winter and My Favorite Wedding tied for fourth place, with each film coming in first in five states. A Royal Winter follows an American tourist in Europe who falls in love with a man who, unbeknownst to her, is a prince about to be crowned king.
In contrast, My Favorite Wedding revolves around a true-love skeptic (played by Maggie Lawson of Psych fame) who finds herself intrigued by a fellow skeptic in the wedding party—one whose career as a divorce lawyer might make him an even unlikelier catch.
States that favored A Royal Winter’s fairytale romance include:
And areas that identified with the more cynical Lawson in My Favorite Wedding include:
- South Carolina
Find out what the buzz is about by watching it live: A Royal Winter is airing on Hallmark on February 23 while My Favorite Wedding will make an appearance on March 3.
#5: Love on Ice and The Art of Us
Love on Ice explores the romance between a former ice skating champion and the new coach who believes she can succeed—perfect viewing for the Winter Olympics season.
Meanwhile, The Art of Us appeals to romantics, artists, and dog lovers alike as it tells the story of Harper Higgins, an art college fellow seeking tenure who might have found her best source of inspiration in her handsome dog walker.
Three states favored Love on Ice more than the others:
- North Carolina
And these three preferred The Art of Us:
Love on Ice is slated for rebroadcast on February 18th, closer to Valentine’s Day than the other movies on this list, so give it a whirl if you want a romantic lift after the holiday ends.
#6: Falling for Vermont and Royal New Years Eve
It’s no surprise that Falling for Vermont is the most popular movie in Vermont and the nearby state of Rhode Island. In this romance, a famous author’s car crashes outside a small town in Vermont, where a single dad invites her to stay in his guesthouse until she regains her memory.
The nation’s other sixth-favorite Hallmark movie offers the same ambiance of A Royal Winter. In Royal New Year’s Eve, a fashion designer named Caitlyn works alongside heir-to-the-throne Prince Jeffrey to plan a New Year’s ball where Jeffrey is supposed to propose to another woman, sealing an important political alliance. But as Caitlyn and Jeffrey start to fall in love, they have to decide whether romance is more important than tradition and the state of the nation. This class-upset film was the favorite of Arkansas and Michigan.
Whatever your Hallmark Original of choice, there’s no question that Hallmark hits a soft spot for many in America. Do you have a passion for any of the films listed above? Is Hallmark one of the main reasons you hang on to your current TV and internet subscription? Is the most popular Hallmark film in your state your favorite, too, or do you prefer another film to the ones listed here?
Most importantly, is your go-to Hallmark movie queued up and ready to go for Valentine’s Day? Share your ideas, recommendations, and Valentine’s viewing traditions in the comments section below!