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Call to Action for Monroe County, NY Residents!: Call & E-Mail Town Supervisors NOW!

Phillip Dampier April 13, 2009 Events, Public Policy & Gov't, Talking Points, TWC (see Charter) 44 Comments

[Updated Tuesday 10:12am: Added city of Rochester, although I do not know if Mayor Duffy is invited to these gatherings.]

This Friday, there will be a closed meeting of the county’s supervisors, and Time Warner has been invited to come speak on the issue of usage caps and take questions.  The meeting is informal, and not open to the public, but that doesn’t mean you cannot make a direct influence on how this meeting transpires.

I have received direct input that many town and village officials are not hearing from constituents about Time Warner Internet Rationing, and are woefully under-informed about this issue.  Therefore, it is OUR responsibility to help inform, educate, and directly lobby them with our firm opposition to usage caps of any kind, and the complete lack of proven justification for their usage cap experiment, its tiers, and pricing.  Winter is over here in Rochester, but there is a real risk of a Time Warner Snowjob if we do not make it absolutely clear to each and every town that caps are absolutely, unequivocally, unacceptable in any amount.

To not protest means that locally elected officials will be at risk of believing the propaganda they are about to receive and assume it must be accurate because nobody is complaining.  That must change, and preferably before this Friday.

While local officials have no regulatory enforcement power to deny Time Warner the ability to launch their “experiment,” the more opposition on every level, the better.  And don’t you believe this won’t be an issue at franchise renewal time.

Simply put, we must fight this battle on every front at the same time.  So tomorrow morning, start the phone calls, e-mails, and faxes! Some towns, like Brighton, have already had their constituents ringing the phones at the town hall off the hook, and town officials are on board.  Those folks need to hear our thanks and support.  Other towns have not heard as much, and they need to.

Here are the points you need to raise:

  • Time Warner is conducting this experiment in the only upstate city not served by Verizon and their expanding FiOS (fiber to the home) network, which provides formidable broadband competition and a simple alternative for dissatisfied customers to head elsewhere.  They know here in Rochester, you really have nowhere else to go if you want uncapped cable modem-like service.
  • Frontier Communications, while being an honorable corporate citizen by promising not to cap their DSL service, cannot currently compete on the same level as Road Runner for consistency of speed, availability, and price unless a consumer signs a long term contract with a steep cancellation penalty.  If DSL isn’t even available to your home, tell them!
  • Time Warner has consistently refused to publicly release their raw data on which they base their “need” to impose usage caps, tiers, and overage charges.  We are asked to take their word for it.
  • Time Warner just increased rates in Rochester two months ago.  Let them know how much you are already paying, and ask how much more does this company need from us?
  • Ask them what other company would get away with raising the price for unlimited broadband service by 300% with no improvement in service, and only vague promises about a future upgrade.  How can any company ask a customer who wants the same level of service they enjoy today for $39.95, to pay $150 tomorrow?
  • Tell your supervisor their “experiment” is being imposed against your wishes, and that at no time do you want to participate.  Tell them you are concerned they may not understand that by this fall, the higher cost tiers and overage fees are hardly an “experiment” because you are going to be billed for them.
  • Tell them other cable operators like Cablevision do not impose ANY usage limits and don’t want to, because their current pricing is already profitable!  Comcast, the nation’s largest cable operator, charges every standard broadband customer the same price, and simply requests they do not exceed 250GB of usage per month, more than six times the amount Time Warner’s paltry standard service tier would offer.
  • Ask why should Time Warner impose tiers on the customers they claim aren’t even a problem?  Those with lower consumption are being asked to choose a plan that offers as little as 1GB of data, and then they face a $2 per gigabyte penalty for each additional gigabyte!
  • Tell them talking about sending tens of thousands of e-mails and looking at simple web pages is not the real issue.  Using online file backup programs, watching online video, making phone calls over the Internet, and the future services that are forthcoming in our high technology future are what’s at issue, and punitive usage caps retard those services and new businesses from ever getting off the ground, all while a virtual monopoly broadband provider rakes in fat profits.
  • Tell them Time Warner has a vested interest in protecting their core video business – selling you cable TV packages that, ironically, you have to take on an all you can eat basis, while they want to take away that currently affordable option for their broadband service, which now let’s you watch TV and radio programming that could reduce your need to keep your cable TV package.
  • Tell them you don’t want to have to watch a gas gauge and have Internet service rationed to you in small portions at high prices while Time Warner’s own SEC filings show their broadband division continues to grow in profits, all while the bandwidth costs for them are on the decline!  Where is the crisis?
  • Ask them, above all, to not simply accept the statements from interested company officials as fact.  Let them know you’d be happy to provide them with copies of challenges to their assertions, point by point, as well as industry observations which suggest the company is making a spectacle of itself, has tiers bordering on the “obscene,” and are so out of whack with the rest of the American broadband industry, the company has to try and compare its broadband rationing with foreign countries like Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.  Remind them this is Monroe County, New York, United States of America!
  • Finally, let them know that people affected by this include: financially stressed families with teenagers, small businesses run from the home, workers conducting company business from a home office, the large deaf community in our area that depends on broadband video phones to help communicate with friends, families, and business associates, and frankly, your own town’s ability to offer services like online video of town board meetings and functions.

Always be polite, persuasive, and professional in your communications. You need not raise every one of these issues – pick the few that are most important to you, but make it clear this issue is so important to you, your town official’s position on it will be a major factor for you in the next election.  Your choice of arguments should also consider the political environment in your town.  In some communities, you will be more effective when you stress the lack of competition and need for more players in this market, and that there is nothing wrong with pushing back against job-killing, innovation wrecking, unjustified capping experiments in our hurting economy. In others, reminding them of Rep. Eric Massa’s involvement in this issue and that there is a groundswell of consumer opposition visible in every form of local media and online.

This site is ready and willing to answer any question from any government official looking for additional information or resources on this topic.  And those answers won’t just be coming from me, but from independent news sources, researchers, and industry trade publications that do report on and explore capping alternatives.  This is an issue that will have a profound impact on this community.  In all my conversations with consumers, government officials, and businessmen, I’ve yet to find one that has been looking forward to their community being the “chosen ones” for this “test.”

Finally, simply ask, “who wants this?”  Outside of Time Warner executives talking to other Time Warner executives, practically nobody.  And just last fall, International Data Corporation asked the same question I did of 787 U.S. consumers.  And remember these results:

  • 81 percent do not like the idea of establishing a bandwidth cap and charging for use above the cap.
  • 51 percent would try to change service providers if their BSP imposed bandwidth caps.
  • 83 percent say that do not know what a gigabyte or have no idea how many gigabytes they use.
  • Even light users are opposed to the whole idea of bandwidth capping.
  • Only 5 percent said unequivocally that “those who use more should pay more.”

Gigaom, a respected online publisher double checked the results with their own poll.  Ninety-one percent of 1,159 voters said that they would switch to another ISP, while 6 percent said they would not switch.

What will consumers pay for?  Improved service today, not vague promises about tomorrow!  Instead of relying on punitive usage caps to finance the next generation of broadband systems, why not create new levels of premium tiers to appeal to the very heavy users Time Warner wants to pay for improvements?  How about faster tiers of service priced higher than the current standard service.  Time Warner themselves had success doing this with the introduction of its Turbo tier for an additional $10 a month.  How about SuperTurbo for $20 more a month?  ExtremeTurbo at $30 more a month?  Sit back and rake in the profits, but make everyone happy, from your lightest consuming customers to the heaviest of them all, who will happily pay for a better level of service today to make an even better and faster level of service available tomorrow.  Caps are for bottles, not for broadband, not in the United States of America.

Here is a comprehensive contact list.  Find your community in the list below and get busy. (Thanks so much to everyone who helped contribute to getting this list together so fast!)

Monroe County Supervisor

Maggie Brooks,
County Executive (Monroe County)

email: [email protected]

Monroe County Executive
110 County Office Building
39 W. Main St.
Rochester, NY 14614
Phone: 585 753-1000
Fax: 585 753-1014

Brighton

Frankel, Sandra L. Town Supervisor

Email: [email protected]

2300 Elmwood Avenue
Rochester, NY 14618
Phone: (585) 784-5251
Fax: (585) 784-5353

Chili

David Dunning Town Supervisor
[email protected]
3333 Chili Avenue, Rochester, NY 14624
Phone: (585) 889-3550 / Fax: (585) 889-8710

Clarkson

Clarkson Town Supervisor Paul M. Kimball
P.O. Box 858
Clarkson, NY 14430

Office Phone: 637-1131
Fax: 637-1138
E-Mail Address: [email protected]

Gates

Supervisor Ralph J. Esposito
1605 Buffalo Road
Rochester, New York 14624
(585) 247-6100

Greece

Supervisor Jack Auberger

Town of Greece
1 Vince Tofany Blvd
off Long Pond Road
North of Latta Road
Greece, NY 14612

(585) 225-2000

http://www.greeceny.gov/ Click on top, “Contact the Town”

Hamlin

Dennis K. Roach
Supervisor, Town of Hamlin
Office Phone Number (585)964-8981
Cell Phone Number (585)944-5911
E-Mail [email protected]

Supervisor’s Hours:
Monday-Friday Generally plan to be in the office and around the Town from 8 am – 4 pm. You might want to call in advance to ensure I will be in the office when you plan to stop by.

Henrietta

http://www.townofhenrietta.org/

Michael Yudelson
Supervisor
475 Calkins Road
Henrietta, New York 14467
(585) 359-7001
(585) 334-9667

email via form at:
http://www.townofhenrietta.org/contact/supervisor.html

Irondequoit

Supervisor: Mary Ellen Heyman
email: [email protected]

Town Hall
1280 Titus Avenue
Rochester, New York 14617
585 336 6034

Mendon

Ian McNabb
Town Supervisor
Phone: (585) 624-6061
[email protected]

Ogden/Spencerport

Town of Ogden, New York
269 Ogden Center Road
Spencerport, NY 14559
PH: 585.617.6100

EMAIL: [email protected]

Parma

Richard A. Lemcke – Town Supervisor
[email protected]

Penfield

Town of Penfield Supervisor,
George C. Wiedemer
Phone: (585) 340-8630
email: [email protected]

Perinton

Supervisor
James E.Smith
http://www.perinton.org/ContactUs/

Phone/Address: ???  (write a comment and help fill in the blank)

Pittsford

Town Supervisor
William A. Carpenter, Supervisor
[email protected]
585 248 6220

Address???

Riga

Ken Kuter
Town Supervisor
Phone: (585)293-3880
[email protected]

City of Rochester

Mayor Robert Duffy
[email protected]
City Hall
30 Church Street
Rochester, New York  14614
(585) 428-7045

Sweden

Robert A Carges
Deputy Supervisor
Phone: (585) 637-7588
[email protected]

Webster

Supervisor Ronald Nesbitt
[email protected]
872-7068

Address?

Wheatland

Linda M. Dobson
Town Supervisor
3 Genesee St.
Scottsville, NY 14546
Phone: (585) 889-1553 ext. 300
[email protected]

Wayne County – Although not directly impacted by this week’s meeting, they could hear from residents there as well on this issue!

Wayne County Administrator

James Marquette
315-946-5480
No Email Address Provided
26 Church St. Lyons, NY 14489

Macedon

Town Supervisor
William Hammond
(315)986-4551
[email protected]
1675 N. Wayneport Rd. Macedon, NY 14502

Walworth

Town Supervisor
Robert Plant
(315)986-1400
[email protected]
3600 Lorraine Dr. Walworth, NY 14568

Add missing towns/corrections to comments.  Updates will be made regularly!  Spread the word!

Currently there are 44 comments on this Article:

  1. JamesM says:

    Excellent and very thorough post. I do hope that you who live in the area can send TWC a clear message that _ANY form of data capping_ is _unacceptable_ in order to have a strong economy in the near and long term for this country. Paying _more than triple for the exact same service_ is unacceptable and constitutes price gouging. And the data simply do not bear out TWC’s position that their costs are “variable”.

    This story needs to go far further than just being heard on NPR.

    And ‘course I will do my part to help it along.

  2. Ron Dafoe says:

    I have just sent a message to the Ogden Town Supervisor. I will be following this up with a telephone call tomorrow. I would like her to know just how important this is.

    Thanks for the information Phillip

  3. Mazakman says:

    Webster Town Hall address is…

    1000 Ridge Rd, Webster, NY, 14580

  4. Dave says:

    Supervisor
    James E.Smith
    http://www.perinton.org/ContactUs/

    (585) 223-0770

  5. TomR says:

    Thanks for this site… I have just emailed Town of Chili Supervisror

  6. Rachel says:

    Thanks for posting this. I have had family members and friends copy down several of your points to help show their opposition to these caps. Let’s hope enough people take time out to contact their officials. We need to let them know we don’t want this.

    Thank you Philip for all the time you have spent on this website and keeping us up to date. I am sure you are tired and running on empty. We appreciate all of your hard work.

  7. James D. Legan says:

    Mr. Yudelson of Henrietta has been emailed. I will follow it up with a call tomorrow.

  8. Tom says:

    So if we live in the city limits of Rochester, are we just supposed to email the county supervisor? Or did we overlook the city itself?

  9. vcheng says:

    William Carpenter, the town supervisor for Pittsford, has the following address:

    Town Hall,
    11 S. Main Street,
    Pittsford, NY 14534.

  10. TomG says:

    I just emailed Greece. Thanks!

  11. DougP says:

    Hi, if I live in the South Wedge, who should I contact? I really want to get involved but I’m not sure who I should be talking to. Thanks!

  12. I’m unsure if Mayor Duffy goes to these. I’ll find his details and add him just in case.

  13. dwgsp says:

    For Perinton (Jim Smith), try [email protected].

  14. Craig says:

    Penfield & Maggie Brooks emailed will try and find time to call later
    thanks for the heads up

  15. Rick says:

    It is very important that everyone spring into action on this and contact their local town superviser ASAP. I emailed my Town Supervisor in Pittsford last night and received the following response back this morning, which highlights the importance of getting the word out to Supervisors who have no knowledge of the proposed caps and may be influenced by TWC propaganda at their meeting on Friday…

    Rick

    Thanks for your e-mail.

    Last week, I e-mailed my fellow Town Supervisors to see if they were hearing from constituents regarding Time Warner’s proposal to impose bandwidth caps. I was surprised that they were not and encouraged them to have Time Warner appear before our Supervisors Association to allow us to better understand what they were proposing.

    While I am still coming up to speed on this issue I am concerned about the economic effect that such a proposal will have on our residents and our businesses. Please be assured that I will do what I can in this matter.

    I appreciate your expressing your concerns with me and my fellow Supervisors in advance of our meeting.

    Bill

    William A. Carpenter, Supervisor
    Town of Pittsford
    11 South Main Street
    Pittsford, NY 14534
    585-248-6220
    585-248-6247 (fax)
    [email protected]

  16. vcheng says:

    I have already called Mr. Carpenter last week and brought him up to speed on the great importance of this issue. What we now need are lots of other people to call in as well.

    Please make sure that supervisors understand that having good intenet access is a marketing issue to keep younger demographics in their towns and villages. Also, schools districts use this technology widley, including on-line homework.

    These things will impact property values. This they will easily understand!

  17. Pete says:

    Good comments. I’d like to encourage everyone to communicate these important points to their local representatives.

    1. ANY form of data capping is unacceptable in order to have a strong economy in the near and long term for this country.
    2. Paying more than triple for the exact same service is unacceptable and constitutes price gouging (especially in a monopolized captive market).
    3. The data simply does not bear out TWC’s position that their costs are “variable”.

    By the way, please keep in mind that there is zero marginal cost for data, unlike other utilities delivering finite resources such gas, oil, electricity or water. All utilities charge a fee for infrastructure and delivery (providing & servicing connections to your home or office) plus a separate fee for the marginal cost of goods. TWC has been charging and making a tidy profit off of the infrastructure and delivery service (providing & servicing connections to your home or office), the difference is that they now want to charge for bits of data that have zero marginal cost and are infinite in supply. TWC has no justifiable case for increased costs, especially when their SEC filings for 2007 and 2008 indicate year after year double digit growth in revenue coupled with double-digit reduction in costs.

  18. KP says:

    Just e-mailed George Wiedemer, Penfield supervisor.

    Here’s a previous post of mine for those that haven’t seen it.

    Just for information, the Penfield Town Board is having a community discussion (as opposed to an official board meeting) Tuesday, April 14, 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the Browncroft Community Church, 2530 Browncroft Blvd. For more info check this link:

    http://penfield.org/index.php?bShow=356516253&cat=10

    That’s today. It’s an ideal opportunity for Penfield residents to speak up.

  19. vcheng says:

    from:

    http://www.economist.com/daily/chartgallery/displayStory.cfm?story_id=13475049&source=features_box4

    There is also a great graphic on the page. One wonders if broadcast TV is declining so rapidly, then cable providers like Time Warners must be hurting.

    American broadcast TV

    Changing channels
    Apr 13th 2009
    From Economist.com

    Americans are turning off broadcast TV

    Correction to this article

    Broadcast television in America is declining at an alarming rate. But it is not that Americans are watching less TV—the average viewer saw 151 hours per month according to Nielsen, a market-research firm. Rather, 80% of Americans get TV through cable or satellite and the broadcasters have to compete with a welter of other offerings. Although the broadcasters still produce some blockbuster shows, such as “E.R.”, they are starting to cut back. Some are even pondering the switch to cable broadcasting themselves.

    Correction: Due to an editing error, an earlier version of this article included a welter of typographical mistakes. Sorry. The article was corrected on April 13, 2009.

  20. Diane says:

    I have emailed Mr. Yudelson of Henrietta as well.

  21. DOWN_with_TWC! says:

    I e-mailed Mr. Yudelson this morning, hopefully the supervisors address these issues that TWC is bringing to our area.

  22. John says:

    I just emailed my Town Supervisor Mr. Lemcke (Town of Parma).

    I followed up with a call to his office. Although I did not talk to him directly his personal assistant told me he was against Time Warner’s actions. We quite the lengthy conversion in which she told notes, and was to forward them on to the supervisor. She also forwarded for the Supervisor to check the resources of stopthecap.com

  23. Danny Gibas says:

    I Emailed Yudelson in Henrietta.

  24. Missy says:

    Thanks for this website and such great info to use. I found it after searching on the issue following a conversation with my boss who mentioned the issue. I had NOT heard about it anywhere else, as I don’t watch local news as a rule. I am so glad I did that just in time to join in the fight! I emailed the Brighton town supervisor today, and hashtag tweeted about Stop the Cap! I hope it helps–I’m new to tagging on twitter, but I also included a tinyurl to get to your site. I am so disgusted with seeing TWC commercials on virtually every TV channel as rates climb. And now we get picked on b/c we’re stuck without a viable competitor to turn to?? Insane. We must express our displeasure loudly and in overwhelming numbers. Enough is enough.

    • Yeah, if I see that stupid “it’s spring” so instead of going outside, talk unlimited on the phone-ad they are running AND the one with the highly annoying guy in the Road Runner ad feigning recognition about how RR is already the best… When he says “Hey!!!!” does it for me. I want to retch. And then there is Mike O’Brien… well, that’s all I need to say.

      The good news is, Sandra Frankel, our town supervisor, is already on board and on our side on this issue. She sees serious consequences ahead should they also try this cap on business accounts later on, as well as recognizing consumers are already paying this company plenty now.

      But I’m sure she’ll be happy to hear you thank her when she gets back to you.

      This is just the beginning of the fight, so I’m glad you are on board. We have a lot more to do.

      • Missy says:

        I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one who loses it when a TWC commercials starts–this is why I love surfthechannel.com (which I don’t want to be penalized for using). Good to know Sandra Frankel is on board as her office didn’t get back to me yet. However I did get a form reply from Maggie Brook’s office. I hope the lack of a personal response is an indication that she’s being swamped by similarly outraged constituents. I for one and looking forward to a public hearing on the matter so I can speak up for my right to not be price gouged.

  25. Sean says:

    I e-mailed Chili Supervisor Dunning. Hopefully the Town Supervisors will do some research prior to their meeting, let TW throw out their talking points from the press releases, and then the supervisors can prove every one of them wrong point by point. Man I’d love to be a fly on the wall there.

  26. Craig says:

    I have heard nothing from the Penfield supervisor since i emailed him this morning (6am) is anyone planning on going to the meeting tonight I have a lot of stuff to get done tonight not sure if i can make it

  27. For Fairport/Perinton:

    Town Hall Offices
    1350 Turk Hill Road
    Fairport, NY 14450
    (585) 223-0770

    Jim Smith
    Town Supervisor
    [email protected]
    (585) 223-0770

  28. Criss says:

    From Perintown Town Supervisor Jim Smith this morning:

    “I will forward your comments on to our Time Warner contact person. Time Warner, and other cable providers nationwide, have been under the control of the FCC, not localities, for several years. We’re more than happy to share our constituents feelings, however. The Town Supervisors are meeting with Time Warner this week and I will express your opinion there as well.”

  29. Paul R says:

    I sent an email to the Ogden supervisor this afternoon and recieved the following response:
    ____________
    Dear Paul,

    Thank you for sending me your concerns regarding Time Warner’s new initiative. You are not alone in your thoughts and you can be assured that I will be presenting those to the Time Warner rep. who is coming to our meeting on Friday. The reason they were asked to come was because the supervisors are receiving calls and e-mails regarding this issue from their residents.

    Although I have some of the same concerns, I appreciate the time you took to fill me in on the magnitude of this problem from your perspective.

    Gay Lenhard
    Ogden Supervisor

  30. Rachel says:

    I received a responce from my supervisor. It pretty much stated that I need to contact the FCC instead of him. That they have no control any longer and the FCC is the one allowing time warner to do this. Is this true? Should we be emailing the FCC?

  31. Aaron says:

    Anybody in Wayne County doing anything/having any luck?

    I emailed Robert Plant, the Walworth Town Supervisor this morning and will post a response if I receive one.

    We can’t even get Frontier in Gananda, so I’m not sure what to do.

    Any suggestions?

  32. Andrew says:

    I would say your best bet for Wayne County would be to go with our Rep, umm Maffei i think it is. Hope that he will support Massa’s efforts to put a stop to the cap

  33. Brian says:

    I sent an email to Chili Supervisor David Dunning. His quick response:

    “I share your concern, but do feel I need to hear what Time Warner has to say. I will take very good notes and be sure to get back to you once I had the chance to hear their side of the issue.”

    He did respond to me within about 15 minutes!

  34. BTW, if you happen to visit any other current events blogs in Rochester, send out the word to them about this call to action as well. Some of the blogs in town are political, and this would be an action issue they would likely be comfortable promoting themselves.

  35. JamesM says:

    It occurred to me that online backup services are actually another _great example_ of something that would use quite a bit of data and for which you should not have to pay a “service fee” for under these capping plans.

    Folks have music, pictures, other forms of data that can be backed up online via several different services, and companies like TWC would be charging you extra for this “privilege”.

  36. Tim says:

    You mentioned that Wayne county isn’t directly affected. Well, I’m in Walworth and I get my Internet service from Time Warner’s Rochester division. So, we’re directly affected. I’m lucky that Verizon offers DSL and I’m close enough to the head-end that I should get full speed service. But I know most of the area is not as fortunate.

    I’ve written my state reps, neither of which responded. I just sent off a note to Bob Plant. The State A-G at least sent me a form letter response.

    Tim

  37. groundhum says:

    Supervisor Ted Fafinski
    Town of Farmington
    1000 Co. Rd. 8
    Farmington 14425

    I emailed Ted on 1 April, and received a reply later that day. He indicated that he’s aware of the monopoly issue, but wasn’t previously aware of the proposed caps. He included an exposition re. Ontario County’s fiber optic ring, and noted that he had tried over a year ago to convince Verizon to tap into the ring to provide broadband service to unserved and underserved areas of the county.

    BTW, Ted is also chair of the Ontario Co. Board of Supervisors.

  38. Sidney Suher says:

    About 1 week ago on CNN the CEOs of Comcast and I believe TW as well as others stated that they had plenty of cash and were doing very well and increasing market share even in the economic climate. That they needed no goverment bailout to improve their infrastucture. Therefore the only conclusion that can be made is TW is just out to get more of our money simply because they are really the only game in town.

    Maybe we all should suspend our internet service for one month. A- M suspending in July andN-Z suspending in August. That should get our message to TW that we do not want anything but the current flat rate.

  39. Webappuniverse says:

    I just emailed them all to voice what you have seen here–these data caps must be stopped!

  40. Webappuniverse says:

    Contact the FCC here:

    Commissioner Michael J. Copps: [email protected]
    Commissioner Jonathan S. Adelstein: [email protected]
    Commissioner Robert McDowell: [email protected]

    Have fun!

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