When it comes to digital equity, “Net Neutrality” gets most of the headlines, with some secondary attention paid to the Lifeline program — telephone and internet subsidies for people near or below the poverty line. A white paper from the National Digital Inclusion Alliance has drawn attention to another lever in the digital divide, a practice NDIA calls “tier flattening”: increasingly, internet access costs the same, whether you’re on rural dial-up speeds or urban municipal fiber. While it comes as no surprise that providers build infrastructure where they stand a better chance of selling services, commentators question whether people trapped with fewer, slower options should have to pay the same for a fraction of the speed.
- Slow internet? Fast internet? You might be paying the same price [Marketplace] “The National Digital Inclusion Alliance found that lots of customers are paying about $60 a month for their internet packages. Some get super slow internet speeds, while others get super fast speeds.”
- Are AT&T and Verizon fleecing rural America? [CNET] “A large majority of these unconnected or underconnected Americans live in rural areas where it’s expensive to build infrastructure and deliver service. The situation also happens to be in parts of the country where there’s little if any competition. And that seems to be a better predictor of whether the networks have been upgraded to higher speeds.”
- $50 a month for 1Mbps: How AT&T and Verizon rip off DSL customers [Ars Technica] “AT&T didn’t dispute any of the specific prices from the NDIA report but called it ‘misleading’… ‘Attempting to assess Internet service offerings by only looking at standard rates does not give a complete picture; the Internet service market is more competitive than ever and most customers make their purchases at bundled and discounted rates.'”
- Now that telcos have “abandoned rural America,” the only broadband comes from cable monopolies [Boing Boing] “You know what’s worse than shopping for your ISP in a market served by a cable/telco duopoly? Getting your internet from a cable monopolist who faces no competition at all.”
From the Ohio Web Library:
- Martin, Crystle. “A Library’s Role in Digital Equity.” Young Adult Library Services, vol. 14, no. 4, Summer2016, pp. 34-36.
- Hamaker, Christian. “Rural Broadband: Tempest or Tranquility?” Rural Telecom, vol. 37, no. 2, Spring2018, p. 6.
- Duvail, Zippy. “Time to Get Rural America up to Speed with Broadband.” Texas Agriculture Magazine, vol. 33, no. 6, 20 Oct. 2017, p. 2.