Another Report Shows US Consumers Don't Get The Broadband Speeds They Pay For
from the false-advertising dept
Yet another report has shown that US consumers aren’t getting the broadband speeds they’re paying for.
Researchers from broadband deal portal AllConnect dug through FCC data on broadband speeds and found that about 45 million Americans aren’t getting the speeds that broadband providers are advertising. Fiber and cable broadband providers appeared to have the toughest time providing the speeds they advertise, with those subscribers getting around 55% of the speeds they were promised. Satellite and DSL providers generally offer crappy speeds, but at least, the report found, those speeds were delivered more consistently.
The firm noted that consumers just aren’t getting accurate data on what speed is available, or how much speed they’ll get. Something that’s kind of important during a pandemic in which broadband is key to education, employment, health care, human connection, and opportunity:
“Having dependable internet is crucial right now, and with so many options available, it is important to have information like this to help consumers make the right choice for their needs. Being able to compare various aspects of internet service like reliability and speed helps make those decisions a little easier,? Layton adds.”
Granted this has been a problem for the better part of this decade. And it’s another problem (much like patchy availability and high prices) federal regulators haven’t done enough to seriously address. Speed data ISPs provide to the FCC is notoriously unreliable, and the FCC historically doesn’t do enough to verify availability and speed claims. It only takes a few minutes perusing our $350 broadband availability map, which all but hallucinates competition and throughput, to realize there’s a chasm between what the US government and industry claims exists, and what actually exists.
Every year, the FCC is mandated by Congress to release a report detailing the status of the U.S. broadband industry. If broadband isn’t being deployed on a “timely basis,” the agency is supposed to, you know, do something about that. But every year, sometimes regardless of party, the agency, swaddled in dodgy data, pretends this isn’t a problem. Why? Because we’ve fused extremely politically powerful telecom monopolies to our government surveillance apparatus, and holding these companies accountable is bad for political careers.
Of course ISPs aren’t just engaged in false advertising when it comes to speeds. They also routinely use a bevy of misleading fees and surcharges to covertly jack up their advertised rates post sale — to the point where your advertised cable or broadband bill can be as much as 45% higher than advertised. And again, aside from the very occasional suggestion by regulators that ISPs could maybe do better or be more transparent, nobody much does anything about it. After all, who wants to risk losing Comcast, AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Charter campaign contributions by doing the right thing?