It seems that Donald Trump can’t find enough ways to punish the rural voters that put him in the White House.
It seems that Donald Trump can’t find enough ways to punish the rural voters that put him in the White House. His latest move comes from his FCC appointee and former Verizon attorney, Ajit Pai, who is about to make it much harder for rural Americans to access the Internet. The plan is to twist the rules so monopoly ISPs (Internet Service Providers) don’t have to serve rural areas that don’t generate big enough profits.
According to DSL Reports,
Under this new proposal, any area able to obtain wireless speeds of at least 10 Mbps down, 1 Mbps would be deemed good enough for American consumers, pre-empting any need to prod industry to speed up or expand broadband coverage. Under the previous FCC, wireless was deemed important, but not yet anywhere near a suitable replacement for fixed-line broadband, especially in more remote areas where cellular connectivity will likely remain spotty for decades to come.
The move directly caters to AT&T and Verizon, who have largely given up on rural and second and third-tier city fixed-line broadband deployment, arguing that existing, expensive wireless connectivity is “good enough” (pretty consistently users in the real world find that’s just not true). As part of this push, these companies have worked tirelessly to gut consumer protections governing these lines, many of which were extensively subsidized by taxpayers.
More simply put, Pai is letting ISPs off the hook when it comes to actually providing fast, reliable broadband service to rural Americans at an affordable price.
Under the new rules, ISPs, which are often monopolies in rural areas, can let their cheap and reliable DSL copper lines rot, then either cut off service completely, or try to force people on to wireless broadband plans that will likely include expensive data caps and spotty service if they’re too far from cellular towers.
It’s ironic that many of the people who could be cut off from the Internet are the same people who put Trump in the Oval Office. Does Trump even realize that in his zeal to hand his billionaire buddies even more money they don’t have to earn, he’s also cutting off a significant part of his base from his tweeting propaganda stream? On the other hand, he may not really care.
As for the billions in taxpayer subsidies companies like AT&T pocket for building-out their rural networks? Well, let’s just say they’re not penalized for not using that money to hold up their end of the deal.
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