Net Neutrality – How does it impact you?

The idea of net neutrality is that everyone has equal access to all websites, online content and platforms. Specific websites can’t be blocked or slowed down or given preferential treatment by ISPs (Internet Service Providers).

Net neutrality impacts companies and you in these ways.  Large corporations can pay extra so they can be loaded more quickly. Consumers can be forced to pay higher costs for access to certain sites. Consumers can be blocked from certain websites based on the decision of their ISPs. Additionally, smaller companies that can’t afford to pay higher costs will have less visibility.

According to The Telegraph, a UK based newspaper and website, of the 7.125 billion people in the world, 3.2 billion are Internet users. Only 34% of households in the developing world have the Internet, while 82% of households in the developed world have Internet connection. So really, there are two issues – getting the whole world access to the Internet and once they have it making sure the access is equal and fair.

The EU passed a net neutrality protection law in 2015 that, according to The Telegraph, does provide some protection but has many “loopholes” that give favouritism to certain companies like Facebook and Twitter and, also, allows providers to manipulate the speed of your Internet.  In the article, Professor Barbara Van Schewick, director of Stanford’s Centre for Internet and Society, said US regulations do a better job at protecting consumers than the EU laws. However, this may soon change.

Currently, in the US, there are regulations, established in 2015, in place to define high speed Internet as a public utility and require open, equal accessibility for all websites to all consumers. These regulations are managed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) which is an independent agency of the US Government.  It regulates communications by radio, television, wire, satellite and cable. These regulations provide for affordable connectivity, equal and fair access to the entire Internet and privacy protection. They prevent the so-called fast lanes that websites can pay for.

With a new administration in place, the FCC Chairman, Ajit Pai, has recommended sweeping changes which eliminate the most basic net neutrality protections, according to an article published in the New York Times on November 21, 2017.  This change will allow ISPs to charge more and block access to websites as well as significantly impact consumer protection.  In the article, Pai was quoted as saying that net neutrality is an example of government overreach and that consumers will not be negatively impacted by regulation elimination.

What’s your opinion?  How important is net neutrality? What does it mean to you?




Better language, better future.

The companies that have implemented internationalization strategies are the ones that have fared better in the crisis. As Almudena Semur says, manager and coordinator of the Research Department of the Institute for Economic Studies (IEE), stated in El País’s article on September 27, “Exports and the internationalization of our companies have been the cornerstone to get over the crisis”.

One of the reasons for the success of internationalization is fluent communication between people from different countries having English as a lingua franca. As can be seen in the EPI studies carried out by Education First, from the year 2011 (First Edition) to 2014 (Fourth Edition) the average level of English of Spaniards increased 8 points, due to a clear social awareness of the necessity of English as a tool for daily life and also for day-to-day working life.

On the contrary we have lowered our level of English in this last year. The EPI 2015 study indicates that we have gone backwards 0.38 points and dropped 3 places in the ranking with respect to EPI 2014.

In general terms, and without belittling the most recent poor data reflected in the EPI 2015 study, the underlying trend of our level of English has grown, and in parallel, the exports and imports of internationalized companies. This union, plus the increase of investments and the fine work of our companies, has made, as mentioned in the Survey of International Trade in Services (SITS) Year 2014 conducted by the Spanish National Statistics Institute (SNSI), the United Kingdom has become the main destination for exports. And as you can see on the SNSI website, in 2015 this trend continued to increase.

Alberto López Gil

More words, less words,
English – Spanish.

In 2014 the Royal Spanish Academy (RSA) added 5,000 new entries compared to the previous revision, in the year 2001. Of the 93,111 entries, with 195,439 exceptions in total, 19,000 are Americanisms. Which means that 20% of the words accepted by the SAR are of English origin.

Many of these words have been spanified, that is to say, we write and pronounce them in a way that is more similar to Spanish or sound better phonetically, such as “football”, which comes from “football”.

Another issue to be addressed are the words in “English” that the Spaniards have invented. For example “puenting” or “jogging”, which are words that in English do not exist but have been created adding the term ‘-ing’ at the end, making the word something innovative, sophisticated and as implying that they are of Anglo-Saxon origin , although we insist, these are not.

Also the case of words that do exist in English but we have changed the meaning. For example “crack”. In Spanish it is used as something positive. We’ve all used or heard the expression “you’re a crack” as a person who is very good at doing something. But on the contrary in English has negative connotations, for example, “the crack of 29”.

At other times, the RSA has refused to use terms in English and has preferred to use a word in Spanish that already existed, creating a new meaning. For example the use of “tablet” instead of “tablet.” “Tablet” is a word that already existed, but that has a meaning that is not in accordance with what we are referring to, so a new meaning has been added.

Finally let’s talk about the well-known Spanglish. In itself the word itself is recognized by the RSA and describes it as, “Modality of speech of some Hispanic groups of the United States in which there are mixed lexical and grammatical elements of Spanish and English.” For example, “parkear” (“park” in English) for “park” or “wachar” (of “watch” in English) for “seeing”. Although we may seem strange, they are not so different from our “check” for “check” or the “click” for “push” that we use in Spain.

With all this information we can conclude that English is generating a great influence on Spanish, and increasingly, due to technologies, communications, social networks and globalization in general.


Alberto López