Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Buried FCC report shows many internet service providers aren't providing advertised speeds to customers

Federal Communications Commission chart; click on the image to enlarge it.
Many internet service providers aren't providing advertised speeds to customers, according to a new Federal Communications Commission report. The worst offenders are telecommunications companies selling "aging, slow and pricey DSL," or digital subscriber lines, Karl Bode reports for TechDirt. That's mostly because cable companies are increasingly monopolizing broadband service; phone companies like AT&T and Verizon are focusing on wireless, video and ads while ISPs like CenturyLink are focusing more on enterprise.

"As a result, millions of customers are stuck on aging, expensive, (and often unnecessarily usage capped) DSL lines nobody really wants to upgrade because the return on investment is too slow for Wall Street's liking," Bode reports. "The result: less competition, higher prices, slower speeds, and worse customer service as cable secures a monopoly over high speeds" which 5G wireless isn't likely to fix.

The report is notable not just for its data, but for the fact that it was released at all (albeit buried in the appendix of a 581-page report). FCC Chairman Ajit Pai refused to release last year's report, and dodged reporters' questions about why. But the news media's efforts appear to have nettled and prompted Pai: This year's report was released the day after a blistering Ars Technica piece calling out the FCC for stalling and speculating that the report wasn't released because slow ISP speeds would show that the net neutrality repeal has not improved broadband for customers.

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