FCC approves broadband internet subsidy for low-income Americans

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By “broadband internet” are they talking about “dial up internet”?

Because with the mere pittance of subsidy that you get, it won’t put much of a dent in the bill that averages between $75 - $100 a month in the USA.


which is the problem the should be addressing for everyone’s benefit.


Again? Why, they just approved it yesterday, too.

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Yesterday - or, well, technically now 2 days ago - BoingBoing had an article which indicated the FCC was considering this proposal. Today we were updated by this article that it was approved.


The FCC’s press release says 10 Mbps down.


Yea the problem is the money quoted won’t pay for that speed. Hell it barely pays half what i remember dialup costing ($20 a month.) Then again I had heard of a program comcast was running for low income familys to have like a basic package for like $30 a month or something.

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Again stating for the record TWC has low speed 2Mbps down / 1 up for $15/month.

The question I have though is what about the rest of it? I mean with phone you were spending half or less than what a wifi router would cost today, not mentioning the actual hardware you’d need to access the internet. I figure at this point far more people have access to the internet though a mobile interface than an actual laptop/desktop computer…so is it possible to apply this money toward their monthly cell phone bill instead?

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I live in Charlotte, North Carolina. Google Fiber is building out here, though not currently available. A few weeks after it was announced as arriving here, however, TimeWarnerCable (TWC) immediately increased the speeds/decreased the pricing on all their internet plans.

Google Fiber’s internet plan will be 1gbit down/1gbit up for $70 a month.

My formerly 30mbit down/5mbit up plan for $69.99 a month instantly, without any infrastructure upgrades (afaik), turned into a 200mbit down/20mbit up for the same price. In fact, my previous 30/5 plan isn’t even available now, but only 50/5. I actually immediately “downgraded” my 30/5 plan to the 50/5 plan and started paying 25 dollars less for faster download speeds. Imagine that madness!

The $15 a month plan is 3mbit speed here in Charlotte - which is actually $~21 a month if you rent a modem from TWC. Google offers a 5mbit plan for FREE for 7 years if you pay a one-time $300 install fee, which works out to $25 a month for the first year.

http://www.timewarnercable.com/en/plans-packages/internet/internet-service-plans.html - change the zip code in the upper right corner to a charlotte zip like 28208 and see the 1st year pricing. Then change it to an area without any immediate expectation of Google Fiber, like, say El Paso, TX 79903, and marvel at the pricing and speed differences. Again, these are just the prices for the first year for new custumers only; each one, except the “everyday low price” package will go up by 10 or 15 dollars at the end of 12 months.

Of course, if only TWC had been allowed to merge with Comcast, I am sure that all areas of the country would be enjoying these increased speeds at decreased pricing! I am completely surprised that adding Google in as a direct competitor has had absolutely any effect on the market here. Shocked, I tell you, shocked. I thought Monopoly was the only way to ruin a family!


Even now without the subsidies building a market, there are workable options that are more usable for many internet purposes than a mobile phone. There are both practical and human reasons why a <200USD chromebook is a better general computing device than a cell phone. You can’t reasonably file your taxes on a phone, to pick one fairly timely example.

At poverty levels that’s still a lot of money, yes, but when combined with an internet subsidy it’s as potentially game changing as smart phones have been for people near or below the poverty line.

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Somehow we get 20/20 wirelessly for around $35/month. It does require LOS but the more households that have antennae the more locations there are to act as relays. MIght not be feasible for rural areas, at least without a costly buildup. The icing on the pie is that we get to support a small local ISP instead of submitting to abuses from Comcast / TWC / AT&T / Verizon.

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