FCC announces cable companies will offer cheaper Internet to low-income families

posted at 6:15 pm on November 9, 2011 by Tina Korbe

A “private-public partnership” sounds so much better than Big Business-Big Government collusion, doesn’t it? No wonder that’s how the federal government bills its Connect to Compete initiative — an effort to extend affordable broadband Internet access across the country.

Today, the Federal Communications Commission announced that a handful of cable companies will offer discounted rates to low-income families — defined as those families that qualify for free school lunches. Families that qualify for free or reduced-price lunches will also be able to purchase low-cost computers.

According to the president, “securing America’s competitiveness in a global economy means making sure that every American has access to high-speed broadband Internet and is able to take advantage of it.”

That might be — but it’s simply not the federal government’s role to provide it. To act as if it is — or as if this initiative is laudable — is to imply that Internet access is a right. And while it might sound perfectly legitimate for cable companies to voluntarily offer discounted rates — and to presumably take the hit to the bottom line that that entails — one can only wonder why these companies are so amenable. Are subsidies a part of this? In store for the future? This Reuters article (and others I’ve read) make no mention of what the cable companies will receive in return — but no cost-conscious company would offer the discounted rates for nothing. The FCC estimates the retail value of the discounted high-speed Internet service at around $4 billion.

This is yet one more example of federal government overreach.


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Comment pages: 1 2

I wouldn’t have a problem with this if the FCC finds a revenue stream that involves them producing or selling something to pay for it. But the companies should not be forced to pay for it and neither should the tax payers.

They have new forms of welfare coming in all sorts of ways.

jeffn21 on November 10, 2011 at 8:41 AM

What next? “Low income” families get a subsidized yacht?

sadatoni on November 10, 2011 at 9:54 AM

My solution is simple: I don’t subscribe for cable. I already pay enough in mandatory charities for my cell and landline. I just use DSL. Sure, I take a hit in mandatory charities there, but not as I would on a $90 cable bill (pretty much minimum where I live).

Think it through, people. Do you need Ice Road Truckers that bad? Do you need that badly to watch some thugs throw a ball?

friendlygrizzly on November 10, 2011 at 11:49 AM

My solution is simple: I don’t subscribe for cable. I already pay enough in mandatory charities for my cell and landline. I just use DSL. Sure, I take a hit in mandatory charities there, but not as I would on a $90 cable bill (pretty much minimum where I live).

Think it through, people. Do you need Ice Road Truckers that bad? Do you need that badly to watch some thugs throw a ball?

friendlygrizzly on November 10, 2011 at 11:49 AM

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My new tenets just had the cable guy here doing an upgrade… I was out there busting the guy because I haven’t had cable for over 10 years. I told him about the time one of the big companies called and asked me why I didn’t have cable… They are expensive far beyond what I would ever watch tv for… It’s that simple.
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RalphyBoy on November 10, 2011 at 2:07 PM

Far as I know,yall already helped provide me with cable & internet out here in the stix of SW ND.
About 3 years ago or so there was a huge flurry of activity laying fiberoptic lines for us rural folks.
I do know that without the feds’ help, I would not have it.
But you know, as much as i love it, that was OK with me.
I live in the stix.
It’s the way it is.
But thanks anyway folks.

Badger40 on November 10, 2011 at 2:29 PM

Comment pages: 1 2