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    #2445443

    Heard this on the drive home on the radio. http://www.getinternet.gov or call 877-384-2575 They just announced the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), whi
    [See the full post at: (USA Centric) Want a discount on your Internet?]

    Susan Bradley Patch Lady

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    • #2445454

      which provides eligible households $30 per month off their internet bills

      Not a US citizen. I pay $30 a month for 1Gb/s / 250 Mb/s Fiber Optic.
      It is high time for US citizens to revolt against poor-availability and the outrageous Internet / Cable prices.
      Access to Internet is a human right

      • #2445461

        which provides eligible households $30 per month off their internet bills

        Not a US citizen. I pay $30 a month for 1Gb/s / 250 Mb/s Fiber Optic.
        It is high time for US citizens to revolt against poor-availability and the outrageous Internet / Cable prices.
        Access to Internet is a human right

        only 30$ for 1gb/s (GIGA) / 250mb/s? where are you from?

        i’m in austria (europe), i pay 30€ (which is ~35$ if i calculate correctly) for 16mbit / 1 mbit!

        PC: Windows 7 Ultimate, 64bit, Group B
        Notebook: Windows 8.1, 64bit, Group B

    • #2445465

      Access to Internet is a human right

      Technological miracle one week, basic human right the next.

      cheers, Paul

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    • #2445468

      where are you from?

      Israel.

      I also pay $7 a month for unlimited mobile voice and text + 500 min of International calls.

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    • #2445485

      Just my 2 cents worth, but before we worry about “affordable” how about we worry about “available”? Free internet or any type of discount doesn’t help anyone who has NO access at all. In many rural areas, there is no way to get internet – or cell phone – or even landline, so that is a big issue that IMO needs to be addressed – if not first, then along with providing affordable internet to all.

      The digital divide gets greater everyday and not having access to the internet in this century is like not having access to electricity in the last. And – to clarify – access doesn’t mean driving to the local library or coffee shop to get connected.

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      • #2445524

        It’s easy to assume that people who don’t have Internet connectivity are simply priced out of the market.  In the US, there are far too many places (and not all of them rural) that simply don’t have any Internet options.

        I have a friend who’s a single mom with several school-aged children, and this may help her, especially with kids at home who need to work from a computer (rather than what she has on her own cell phone).

        I have a relative in Southern California (suburbs, not rural) that has no options for wired Internet.  The telco claims that that neighborhood is too far away from a switching office to do DSL, and the cable company won’t pull wire to that neighborhood without off-loading all the costs onto the neighborhood, at an apparent cost of thousands of dollars per mile.  Cellular isn’t really an option — it’s a hilly area, and line-of-sight is difficult, and cellular coverage is very spotty, even for phone calls.  For some people in that area, satellite connections are an option, but because of the issues of signal latency, those are better for streaming media, rather than serious interactive use of the Internet.

        It does seem that this is one area that may be being served with wireless connections by small local providers.  It looks like the provider that Susan is mentioning is similar to one that I’ve seen advertised in this area.  As I understand it, the local provider has their own local tower-based infrastructure, allowing for horizontal connections (rather than vertical, as with satellite).  I’ve only seen the advertising, and the rates seem reasonable, but I haven’t seen how that behaves in actual usage, whether overall speed and reliability, or just how well it works in a hilly environment, where lines of sight may be much more frequently impaired.

        Unfortunately, wired infrastructure is a heavy capital investment, and nobody is willing to pay those costs. The service providers may never recover their up-front costs (at least not in an acceptable time to them) from subscriber fees, so they focus most of their capital spending on urban areas, and the result is that the urban areas keep getting new upgrades, while rural and outlying areas get either no service at all (or service that comes only at their own cost of building out the infrastructure).

        It’s also too easy to expect wireless to be the solution, because the deployment costs are mostly limited to tower infrastructure, and not the expensive stuff of actually pulling wire.  I’m only speculating, but I think it’s also happening that for new neighborhoods that are too far away from existing infrastructure, the telco providers are becoming increasingly reluctant to pull wire to those neighborhoods, with the expectation that people are going to be doing everything from cellular connections.

        I think that part of this issue is that the people who are making those kinds of decisions generally don’t have to live (actually live, not just occasionally visit) in places that have connectivity that is either limited and difficult/expensive to access (or non-existent).  They may cluck a little about the situation, but it’s far enough away that they can dismiss as somebody else’s problem, and where they tolerate the inconvenience briefly before returning to their nice, comfy cocoon of daily living with all the capacity that they’re used to.

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        • #2445528

          I live rural in USA and have no hardline available.  The neighbors have no cell service because the military jams all signals.  It’s worse than all the investment going to urban areas, the rural taxpayer is actually subsidizing their own squalor.  In the 1930’s much of USA had no electricity, this is much the same thing.  It’s a big country and we have merged all telcos into basically three companies.  I have been hearing promises my whole adult life about broadband coming.  It’s 2022, I’ll believe it when I’m watching netflix on cable or fiber, hopefully by 2050.

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        • #2445781

          I hadn’t really considered the military angle.  For the example that I mentioned in Southern California, it’s right next to a military base.  In that neighborhood, there is a prominent hill, but there are no cell towers on that hill.  One provider recently added a tower, but inexplicably, put the tower in a canyon.  However, the location is in a canyon, where there’s no line of sight to the military base.  I think it’s not just the hilly terrain that causes problem in that area.

          It also doesn’t help that this particular area doesn’t have strong municipal government to push the providers to do better with their service.

          I wonder what the policy-makers have to say about situations like this, where lack of coverage infrastructure is deliberate, not just because of economic issues, but where other stakeholders expressly object to the necessary infrastructure.

          I know that there’s a place in West Virginia and Virginia that is explicitly designated “quiet zone” for nearly all radio transmissions (even microwave ovens). It must be difficult living there, especially for the places where providers of wired infrastructure won’t go https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_National_Radio_Quiet_Zone

        • #2447260

          I would wager the base has a good internet connection. 😐

          🍻

          Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
    • #2445495

      30 € a month for 300 Mb/s through fiber optic cable. This includes unlimited landline phone calls.

      Well, actually, 10 € a month for a year, as a promotional offer. Then the price will revert to the regular 30 € a month.

      Plus 2 € a month for 2 hours of mobile phone calls. I don’t need more.

      “In many rural areas, there is no way to get internet – or cell phone – or even landline.”

      Is that hellish country the United States ?

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      • #2445583

        Is that hellish country the United States ?

        Indeed, it is!

      • #2445789

        It is, but this is a place where the US (and Canada, as well) is quite different from Europe.  North America still has vast amounts of space that are minimally populated, especially in the  mountainous areas of western states and provinces.  If you go to the web pages of the cellular providers, every one of them has coverage maps, and all of them have gaps in coverage, and noticeably large spaces in some places, especially in the west.  Think of some place truly remote, such as Yellowstone National Park.  Because the Park itself is a popular tourist destination, it may have Internet and cell coverage, but for considerable distance around there, beyond the popular travel corridors, that’s mostly a desert for coverage.

        In the US, AT&T used to advertise “more bars in more places”, and several years ago, they had a marketing flap with Verizon, where Verizon was upset that AT&T’s advertising implied that their network was bigger than Verizon’s.  Of the US cellular providers, Verizon has the largest investment in infrastructure, dating back to the late 80s (when they were still known as Bell Atlantic), and currently, they tend to have the widest overall coverage.  For this particular dispute, it was that AT&T was emphasizing the size of its 4G network, rather than complete coverage.

        In the meantime, the other major carrier, T-Mobile, has traditionally been smaller (before merger with Sprint), and their network has had a tendency to have very good coverage in urban areas, as well as in major traffic corridors,  but much more spotty outside of those areas.  Merger with Sprint helps some with overall coverage, but the primary focus there is that it has allowed T-Mobile to take the lead on 5G deployment, and I don’t think they’ve done much on general expansion of their network (other than what was acquired from Sprint), any more than Verizon or AT&T have done.

        Whether wired or wireless, the place the the providers are investing in is stuff that is going to generate the biggest returns, and that means stuff that’s deployed in and around urban centers.  Absent external pressure (whether governmental demand, or governmental subsidy of costs), there’s not a lot of interest in building out the system to include places that don’t have any coverage (or adequate coverage).  There’s no money to be made there.

        And governmental subsidies aren’t going to touch the places that don’t have coverage, unless they’re paying the providers to build more infrastructure.

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    • #2445518

      Hi Susan:

      I live in Canada and the Government of Canada has a similar program called Connecting Families, although it’s being rolled out to lower income families gradually. For now families receiving the maximum Canada Child Benefit (CCB) from the federal government are eligible but it will soon be expanded to seniors receiving the maximum Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS). Participation by ISPs is voluntary but it looks like most of the major service providers like Bell Canada, Rogers, TELUS, Shaw, etc. have signed on.

      I believe the current plan that rolled out in 2021 costs $10 CAD / month for a 10 MBps connection but the April 2022 federal budget announced a program called Connecting Families 2.0 that will allow eligible low-income families to upgrade to a 50 MBps connection for $20 CAD ($15.40 USD) per month. (see the news release <here>).

      Note that my ISP Shaw normally charges $60 CDN ($46 USD) per month for a basic 10 MBps connection and $115 CDN ($89 USD) for a 1 GBps connection. Prices for other plans are listed at https://www.shaw.ca/internet/plans.

      At first glance it looks like there are different prices for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) plan in the USA based on family income, the federal benefits you receive and your ISP.  The ACP news release <here> states:

      provides eligible households $30 per month off their internet bills. To deliver maximum cost savings to families, the Biden-Harris Administration has secured commitments from 20 leading internet providers to offer ACP-eligible households a high-speed internet plan for no more than $30 per month. Eligible families who pair their ACP benefit with one of these plans can receive high-speed internet at no cost.

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    • #2445564

      I applied for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) back in February and was approved to receive the $30 USD benefit per month off my internet service, which goes directly to the ISP (Spectrum, formerly Time Warner Cable) from the government. I’m retired and receive a small pension plus Social Security, and I qualified because my total annual income is less than 200% of the federal poverty level. Afterwards, I learned from the local news broadcasts that Spectrum had a lower cost 100 megabyte/second internet option for ACP participants called Spectrum 100 that they charge $30 USD per month for. I currently have the basic internet service that costs $74.99 USD per month and claims to provide 200 MB/sec download speed (I’ve never seen more than 100 MB/sec even on an Ethernet cable connection). The ACP credit knocks that down to $44.99 per month; but if applied to the lower cost Spectrum 100 service, would essentially make my internet service charge zero. And that is precisely the intent and purpose of both the ACP credit benefit as well as the Spectrum 100 service. But when I called Spectrum customer service to ask to be switched to the Spectrum 100 service at $30 per month, minus the ACP credit of $30 per month, after talking with three different people and a supervisor for a total call time of 45 to 50 minutes (most of it on hold), I was denied the change and was told that the Spectrum 100 service was for new ACP customers, only. I was told that I had to stay with the basic internet service I already had, or a higher level and cost service, if I wanted to continue to receive the ACP credit from them. The Spectrum 100 service was not available to existing internet customers, they said. A month later, they raised my bill by $10.38 per month by increasing the amounts they charge for “starter TV” (aka basic TV – broadcast and government channels) and eliminating the bundle discount that I formerly received for getting my internet and cable TV in the same package. So in the end, I am paying just $ 19.62 less per month than I was without the ACP benefit, which is better than nothing, I guess. But the whole purpose of the ACP credit is to be combined with a lower cost internet level of service to make the internet service free for those who qualify for the government program. There is absolutely no other internet service available in my apartment building because satellite dishes are not allowed by the owners/landlord and the building is already wired for cable TV and internet service; and Spectrum requires customers who want to get their internet service to also have at least the lowest level TV service, as well (you can’t have the internet without the cable TV as well). And for some reason, no DSL service provider will take as a customer anyone at this address, including AT&T.  So $235 a year savings is better than nothing.

    • #2445573

      … before we worry about “affordable” how about we worry about “available”?

      Some interesting information about United States Internet Connectivity written on August 17, 2021 by Catherine McNally at Reviews.org website:
      Nearly 1 in 4 Households Don’t Have Internet—and a Quarter Million Still Use Dial-Up
      Lack of high-speed internet access is a monumental issue in our country, and the disparity was brought into full focus in 2020. And it’s a problem that’s not going away.”
      https://www.reviews.org/internet-service/how-many-us-households-are-without-internet-connection/
      Has two interesting maps and lots of individual USA States data.

      For USA: https://www.highspeedinternet.com/providers/rural
      has a Rural Internet Providers list for your entered Zip Code that may be helpful for some. About rural internet:
      Like gas and electricity, the internet is essential to modern life, yet rural areas are often underserved due to the cost of building out network infrastructure like cables and broadcast towers. This can make it difficult to find the best high-speed broadband option for rural areas, so we’ve compiled all the best options for you.”

      It is a crying shame that the USA has such poor internet availability.

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      • #2445589

        Thanks for the informative links! As to checking your zip code – the drawback to that is that within any zip code there are the haves and the have-nots. Our zip code shows Spectrum being one of the providers – yet Spectrum stopped their installations about a mile down our road and won’t bring it any further – for the same reasons mentioned in other posts – too expensive, not enough customers to make it worth the while. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like they have an plans to change that anytime soon.

        I think that part of this issue is that the people who are making those kinds of decisions generally don’t have to live (actually live, not just occasionally visit) in places that have connectivity that is either limited and difficult/expensive to access (or non-existent).

        Indeed – if some of our executives or politicians had to actually try to WORK from these underserved areas, maybe we’d see some changes. But since they don’t – seems like we are going to remain underserved.

    • #2445584

      I live on a dirt road in the desert with cable within 1/2 mile but no cable here and will not be in the near future. There are 2 options Wireless or Satellite. I tried Satellite quite some time ago and it sucks so I chose the wireless option which has a receiver dish to a power supply/modem that gets a signal from an AP about 3/4 of a mile away.

      $50.00 a month unlimited but speeds are not that good. Guaranteed 5 Mbps but sometimes I get up to 15 Mbps rarely. There’s Fiber in the general area (that goes to a Military Base and a town about 12 miles away) but nothing crosses the main road and isn’t going to.

      I’ve been looking at Starlink but the prices are a bit steep for my fixed income. It shows that the Starlink coverage map is on my side of the road but doesn’t cover the other side LOL. When Starlink becomes more reliable and hopefully cheaper, I will consider it.

      Cell service here is spotty so that isn’t much help either.

      Don't take yourself so seriously, no one else does 🙂
      All W10 Pro at 21H2,(2 Desktops, 1 Laptop).

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    • #2445617

      This program clearly isn’t brand new.  Comcast has been promoting it heavily for months — probably since at least the beginning of 2022.  I suppose it’s possible it’s been tweaked in some way.

    • #2445651

       

      One thing they don’t tell you is that the providers will provide unlimited mobile Internet with this, along with the unlimited texting and phone. I have currently found this to be more helpful than just $30 off landline Internet.

      I also will point out that the local ISP actually has a plan that predates all of this that gives $10/month Internet for those with K-12 kids, suggesting a separate program. Families with school age children thus may have additional options.

       

      (Moderator removed potentially political phrase. It doesn’t add anything to the conversation)

    • #2445795

      Thanks for the informative links! As to checking your zip code – the drawback to that is that within any zip code there are the haves and the have-nots.

      ZIP codes are only marginally useful.  Even though they’re used widely for all sorts of location-specific things, the primary intent is to facilitate postal delivery.  For something such as delivery of wired or unwired communications, they’re far too generalized.

      This is yet another dynamic of urban/rural divide.  In urban areas, ZIP codes cover relatively small amounts of geographic space. In rural areas, it’s very common for a comparatively large area (all served by the same post office) that covers hundreds of square miles.  Just because a provider does business within a particular ZIP code doesn’t mean that they will provide service to just anybody in that ZIP code.

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    • #2446107

      2 Gbps down, 75 Mbps up, $99/month. My provider is promising 10 Gbps by 2026.

      Yes, I live in Alaska, in one of the “metro” areas.

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