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Dear Mr. Branson

In my life I could not fathom going a day without the internet and consequently I have had nothing but admiration and gratitude for companies likes Virgin Media who have offered no less than the highest quality of speed and value for the internet. In the increasing technological era that we find ourselves in, internet has been at the forefront of all mediums changing the way we live and think about our lives.

As a daily user of the internet I appreciate the valued broadband service your company and others have made accessible. Not only has the internet become faster over the years with the introduction of new technology and software, but it has also become relatively cheaper. This is a classic example of the powers of the market structure as increased supply of internet has lead to increased output and a cheaper price.

In 2006 Virgin Media Inc. became the first “quadruple-play” media organization in the United Kingdom, incorporating together a media service consisting of television, internet, mobile phone and fixed-line telephone services. More specifically, Virgin broadband ranks as the second largest UK internet supplier. Virgin Media’s 3.6 million customers comprise almost 35% of the market share of broadband across the UK.

The CEO of your company, Virgin Media, has recently attacked the principles of net neutrality. I am sure you are most aware of the fundamental principles of network neutrality where a given broadband network is free of restrictions from content, sites, connectivity speed and where communication is not unreasonably degraded by other communication streams. More specifically however is the fact that through net neutrality, any user of the internet is able to access all websites at the same speed whether it is the website of a big corporation or the blog of a small shop owner.

Monday Morning(ish) Musing: The future-present of pop culture

On like an apple

A different-from-usual topic today: technology.

This week my Chromecast dongle** arrived, and we got to play with it this weekend. So far, we have used it to stream YouTube videos to the TV. Mostly, these were videos about the game Minecraft**, which my sons love to watch. [**Note: for those unfamiliar with Minecraft or Chromecast, at the end of this post I have given some background information that you can go read, and then pop back up.]

We have for a few years now been one of the (fast-growing) "streaming-only" TV families. This means, we have no cable. In fact, we don't watch regular TV. I suppose we could get regular broadcast channels, but why? Between Netflix, Amazon Prime, and DVD/Bluray, we have more to watch than we ever could. With no commercials. (The only downside to which seems to be that when we are watching regular TV at someone else's home, my boys find the commercials more interesting than anything else. Kids and novelty, sigh.)

In addition to streaming to the TV, though, my boys sometimes want to watch videos on YouTube, on a computer. At first most of these were funny and marginally-inappropriate videos they found out about at a friend's house or something. Nowadays, though, mostly the boys want to watch YouTube "channels" about Minecraft and/or other video games.

When we first started playing Minecraft, my older son found a great set of "introduction to Minecraft" videos called "Survive and Thrive." Visiting it just now, I see that in just the year since we first found it, the channel has gotten way swankier and more elaborate.

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