The Cost of Connectivity? Definitely more in the US

New America has released their (sometimes) annual report on the cost of broadband. They look at a number of factors but it’s their statement on affordability in the US is most sobering…

Based on our dataset, the most affordable average monthly prices are in Asian and European cities. Just three U.S. cities rank in the top half of cities when sorted by average monthly costs. The most affordable U.S. city—Ammon, Idaho—ranks seventh. The overwhelming majority of the U.S. cities in our dataset rank in the bottom half for average monthly costs. Internet policy scholar Jonathan Sallet recommends that $10 per month is an affordable benchmark for low-income households. Only six plans in our U.S. dataset meet this $10 benchmark at any speed tier (only four meet Sallet’s 50/50 Mbps recommendation), and all six are offered in Ammon. Out of 290 plans in our U.S. dataset, 118 have advertised initial promotional prices of $50 and under—and only 64 of these plans advertise speeds that meet the current FCC minimum definition for broadband. In addition, some ISPs have abandoned low-income neighborhoods in a form of “digital redlining.” Moreover, COVID-19 has exacerbated a longstanding digital divide that disproportionately affects low-income households and Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) communities. As jobs and incomes are lost, this affordability crisis is poised to worsen. Congress and the FCC must take immediate action to stop digital redlining and help more people get online.

This entry was posted in Digital Divide, Research by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (blandinonbroadband.org), hosts a radio show on MN music (mostlyminnesota.com), supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota (elimstrongtowershelters.org) and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

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