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posted by janrinok on Wednesday January 12, @12:07PM   Printer-friendly

ISPs must accept gov't subsidy on all plans:

Less than a year after Verizon and other ISPs forced users to switch plans in order to get government-funded discounts, a new federal program will prevent such upselling by requiring ISPs to let customers obtain subsidies on any Internet plan.

With last year's $50-per-month Emergency Broadband Benefit that was created by Congress, the Federal Communications Commission let ISPs participate in the program as long as they offered the discount on at least one service plan. The FCC said it did so to encourage participation by providers, but some major ISPs drastically limited the subsidy-eligible plans—forcing users to switch to plans that could be more expensive in order to get a temporary discount.

Congress subsequently created a replacement program that will offer $30 monthly subsidies to people with low incomes. The program also specified that ISPs "shall allow an eligible household to apply the affordable connectivity benefit to any Internet service offering of the participating provider at the same terms available to households that are not eligible households." The FCC still has to make rules for implementing the new Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), but that requirement prevented the FCC from using the same one-plan rule that helped ISPs use the program as an upselling opportunity.

ISPs urged FCC to exclude "legacy" plans.

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  • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Wednesday January 12, @02:54PM (3 children)

    by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday January 12, @02:54PM (#1212106) Journal

    Why would the ISP make that low bandwidth plan free when they could get that $30 subsidy and it still be "free" to the customer?

    While in an airport, never use the word "balm".
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  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 12, @03:32PM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 12, @03:32PM (#1212126)

    Just get the govt to pay $30/customer directly to the ISPs for a basic service, regulate it to prevent gouging, then the ISP is free to "innovate" for higher level service plans. I.e. start treating internet like a utility.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 12, @11:48PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 12, @11:48PM (#1212248)

      All that would happen is that prices would rise by $30/month across the board. Telecom pricing is set by what the market can bear since there is no real competition.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 13, @01:30PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 13, @01:30PM (#1212400)

      The FCC is in the back pocket of the ISPs. When the ISPs say jump the FCC asks how high.

      Same with the FDA and pharma.