Cable Companies Must Offer Free Internet to Millions of Low-Income Homes under Affordable Connectivity Program

Tsing

The FPS Review
Staff member
Joined
May 6, 2019
Messages
7,166
Points
83
The Biden-Harris Administration has announced that it has successfully secured commitments from over a dozen ISPs to cut prices and increase broadband speeds as part of the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), an initiative meant to reduce internet service costs for millions of Americans and to bring high-speed internet into more lower-income households.

Go to post
 

Uvilla

FPS Regular
Joined
Oct 13, 2019
Messages
1,105
Points
113
Sure. Meanwhile my connection price keeps steadily going up in price.
Theres no charity here.
 

Brian_B

FPS Enthusiast
Joined
May 28, 2019
Messages
5,152
Points
113
I don't disagree with the program entirely. I think it could have been handled better though. The prices are only so high because they have effective monopolies in large, dense markets. Break that up, prices come down naturally because of competition.

I think, once a service becomes essential like I think broadband has, the government should step in to ensure equal access. And I'd agree that that statement extends to geographical as well as financial. But this just gave the cable companies a blank check in the guise of "forcing" them to sell cheaper internet to low income housing. They will recoup their losses, and make a handsome profit off of it -- usually by double dipping: getting government subsidies to cover the cost ~and~ raising rates on everyone else.

I agree with the sentiment, just not the method.
 

Grimlakin

FPS Enthusiast
Joined
Jun 24, 2019
Messages
4,722
Points
113
Just read through the announcement and it is well... crap. There is no provision for expanding footprint of broadband services. Meaning if you can't get broadband through any of these companies there is zero encouragement for them to deliver broadband to you.
 

Riccochet

FPS Regular
Joined
Apr 24, 2019
Messages
1,209
Points
113
I disagree. I do not think government should be involved. Government is the reason there are monopolies. Remove that factor and let competition come in.
 

MadMummy76

FPS Junkie
Joined
Aug 20, 2020
Messages
2,175
Points
113
I disagree. I do not think government should be involved. Government is the reason there are monopolies. Remove that factor and let competition come in.
Not everything is profitable. Competition only works if there is money to be made. Just as public transport is not profitable to make available everywhere doesn't mean you can leave some towns out of reach by bus / train. And who else would make this happen if not the government? Internet has become essential for life, so the government must make sure it is available to everyone as any utility.
 

Riccochet

FPS Regular
Joined
Apr 24, 2019
Messages
1,209
Points
113
Not everything is profitable. Competition only works if there is money to be made. Just as public transport is not profitable to make available everywhere doesn't mean you can leave some towns out of reach by bus / train. And who else would make this happen if not the government? Internet has become essential for life, so the government must make sure it is available to everyone as any utility.
It's not classified as a utility. It's a luxury service as far as the law is concerned. The only reason the government is involved is money. Whoever pays the local/state the most money gets the rights to run service in a given area. Google paid MASSIVE amounts of money to run fiber where cable and other fiber providers exists. The second they make it a utility their little honeypot of money ceases to exist.
 

Brian_B

FPS Enthusiast
Joined
May 28, 2019
Messages
5,152
Points
113
I have mixed feelings about a utility.

On one hand, what Riccochet says is exactly true, and part of the problem. Broadband is not considered an essential utility -- but I think that it is in today's world. 100 years ago we were roughly in the same boat with electricity and telephone access.

Without being a Utility, anyone who can pay enough can get right-of-way access, and the underhanded part is that they can go beyond that and pay enough to prevent anyone else from getting them (usually via political connections). But - that doesn't include any provision or requirement to ensure equal access (either geographically or financially). You aren't officially a utility, but you effectively get to be a monopoly by employing anti-competitive tactics under the table. Oh, they will claim they have competition, and in some (select) marketplaces, they may actually. But most will point to Hughesnet (high altitude satellite) or Cellular access (with extremely limiting caps) and say that's competition and use that as justification against antitrust investigations.

Being classified as an official utility - you get a government mandate to be a monopoly in an area. No one else can compete with your franchise rights, and you get to make a guaranteed rate of return, although it's subject to oversight. The flip side of getting to be the only kid on the block is that you have regulations that state you have to include everyone -- both geographically and financially.

I am hoping wireless connectivity (either cellular or low-altitude satellite) blows up the wired industry and actually provides some level of competition. I know they will never get parity, but they get closer all the time.

Utilities suck. A lot of them abuse their privilege. If you get to make a guaranteed 8% margin, you are incentivized to make everything cost as much as it absolutely can - you just have to stack the oversight board with sympathetic voices (ex-vice presidents and the state Governor, in the example of my local electrical utility) that will vote to approve your spending plans and rate hikes. And there can be no real competition.

Telecoms being ISPs - they get to abuse the right of ways they have for their utility service and use that for non-utility functions (being the ISP). Even though in many markets, telecom has moved to digital anyway, and in a technical sense, telephony is just another data stream on the digital network; and the utility mandate only applies to the telecom aspect of it.

Cable companies got in early before there was really any other use for those right of ways, and not being utilities don't have any obligation to serve low income or geographically spares areas.

Now both protect their right-of-ways rigorously to prevent anyone else from coming in and laying cable or fiber or any other competing access.

In both cases - Riccochet is right. Government is a huge part of the problem. But I can't think of any way that works to provide equal access to a necessary utility without government also being a part of the solution.
 

Uvilla

FPS Regular
Joined
Oct 13, 2019
Messages
1,105
Points
113
Government is not a problem. Bad, corrupted government is.
 

MadMummy76

FPS Junkie
Joined
Aug 20, 2020
Messages
2,175
Points
113
It's not classified as a utility. It's a luxury service as far as the law is concerned. The only reason the government is involved is money. Whoever pays the local/state the most money gets the rights to run service in a given area. Google paid MASSIVE amounts of money to run fiber where cable and other fiber providers exists. The second they make it a utility their little honeypot of money ceases to exist.
It should be classified as an utility. I'm not into the nuances of US local authorities. But this seems more like a corruption problem than a government = bad problem.
 

Riccochet

FPS Regular
Joined
Apr 24, 2019
Messages
1,209
Points
113
It should be classified as an utility. I'm not into the nuances of US local authorities. But this seems more like a corruption problem than a government = bad problem.
Should be and is are not the same. And all government is corrupt when there is money involved. Big money in this case.
 

hubaduba

Quasi-regular
Joined
Sep 14, 2020
Messages
311
Points
63
I'm sure this will produce the same results of all the other agreements that ISPs have made to increase coverage and access.

I'm not even concerned with cheaper or faster Internet at this point. I just want a connection that doesn't cut out multiple times per month. **** you, Comcast.
 

DrezKill

FPS Regular
Joined
Jul 3, 2019
Messages
1,299
Points
113
I just want a connection that doesn't cut out multiple times per month. **** you, Comcast.
From about 2002-2003 to 2013, that was my life with Comcast. Switched to Verizon FiOS and sh1t has been pretty rock-solid since.
 

hubaduba

Quasi-regular
Joined
Sep 14, 2020
Messages
311
Points
63
From about 2002-2003 to 2013, that was my life with Comcast. Switched to Verizon FiOS and sh1t has been pretty rock-solid since.
I'd take FIOS in a heartbeat. This weekend I turned down almost double speed at a lower price from Comcast because I don't want another 24 month contract. I'm rolling the dice on Starlink when my kit arrives, hopefully this year.
 

Brian_B

FPS Enthusiast
Joined
May 28, 2019
Messages
5,152
Points
113
I'd take FIOS in a heartbeat. This weekend I turned down almost double speed at a lower price from Comcast because I don't want another 24 month contract. I'm rolling the dice on Starlink when my kit arrives, hopefully this year.
I think most people would take FIOS in a heartbeat. That's the problem. Verizon can't bring FIOS to new markets because .... the local governments won't let them, because the local cable companies and telecoms have blocked them out.
 

Brian_B

FPS Enthusiast
Joined
May 28, 2019
Messages
5,152
Points
113
I'd take FIOS in a heartbeat. This weekend I turned down almost double speed at a lower price from Comcast because I don't want another 24 month contract. I'm rolling the dice on Starlink when my kit arrives, hopefully this year.
I'll also say, as pain in the *** as Comcast is, I wouldn't go expecting Starlink to be any better. I guess you aren't locked into a contract, which is a bonus, and you don't have to deal with the douchery that is Comcast tech support / customer service -- but you're going to have slower speeds on average, highly variable speeds in general, higher latency, and random disconnections due to stuff all the time.

Not saying Starlink isn't great... but there's a reason their slogan is "It's better than nothing".
 

Grimlakin

FPS Enthusiast
Joined
Jun 24, 2019
Messages
4,722
Points
113
I'll also say, as pain in the *** as Comcast is, I wouldn't go expecting Starlink to be any better. I guess you aren't locked into a contract, which is a bonus, and you don't have to deal with the douchery that is Comcast tech support / customer service -- but you're going to have slower speeds on average, highly variable speeds in general, higher latency, and random disconnections due to stuff all the time.

Not saying Starlink isn't great... but there's a reason their slogan is "It's better than nothing".
Not to mention starlink's introductory price is 100 a month and after that it jumps to 200 a month. That's like 2 or 3 video games a MONTH! ;)
 

Brian_B

FPS Enthusiast
Joined
May 28, 2019
Messages
5,152
Points
113
Not to mention starlink's introductory price is 100 a month and after that it jumps to 200 a month. That's like 2 or 3 video games a MONTH! ;)
Does it? The price did go up recently, but it was from $100 to $110. You do have to buy your hardware and that’s around $600 up front, and wait for it to ship - which can take a very long time.

They did just add a “roaming” option that you can turn on for $25/mon. And an Enterprise option that is like $500/mon
 

Grimlakin

FPS Enthusiast
Joined
Jun 24, 2019
Messages
4,722
Points
113
That is what we see for my inlaws currently. The upfront cost then the monthly cost of 100 some odd that jumps after I think 6 months. Maybe it's regional?
 
Become a Patron!
Top