To date, many American customers’ troubles with annoying, confusing, and/or expensive problems with their Internet Service Provider (ISP) have remained either largely anecdotal, or supported by studies drawing on data from publicly available sources. This morning, however, Consumer ReportsIn partnership with the edge, Provide context for at least some of the data with a large-scale new study that compiles records of ISPs’ widely changing prices, speeds, and staggering fee schemes.
After collecting and analyzing 22,000 customer bills from more than 500 separate ISPs across numerous connections such as coaxial cable, satellite, fixed wireless, DSL, and fiber optics, Consumer Reports I found the state of the ISP industry to be very bleak and expensive, not to mention that it depends almost entirely on where it is located. “[Consumer Reports] This initiative was launched to find out the true cost of Internet service. Jonathan Schwantz, senior policy advisor at Consumer Reportsadding that “these findings should concern policymakers and regulators about the lack of competition in the market and the tactics used by service providers to increase profits.”
[Related: Find the perfect internet speed for you.]
Invoices submitted to the edge Readers from all 50 states, as well as Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands, were analyzed. Among the study’s many findings – Internet pricing often appears arbitrary, sometimes with pricing varying between different customers for the exact same service plan, with the average total coming out to about $75 per month. Not only that, but more than a dozen ISPs appear to charge internal fees, often referred to as spam fees, using phrases like “internet infrastructure fee,” “technology service fee,” and “network improvement fee” in their Attempting to raise monthly costs “without appearing to violate contractual or marketing pricing obligations”. One of the few instances where consumers could see slightly lower fees was in areas with increased competition among ISP options — but even then, the drop was only about $5 in areas with three or more providers.
To begin to reduce these inconsistent and often unfair industry standards, Consumer Reports He reiterated support for the ongoing broadband labeling actions by the Federal Communications Commissions, as well as expressing hope that Congress will pass two bills aimed at curbing ISPs’ worst excesses – the Community Broadband Act and the Uncap America Act. The former proposal would help fund low-cost municipal broadband services for cities to compete with private providers, while the latter would ensure that data limits are only used for network management purposes while prohibiting them where they cannot be sufficiently justified. You can read the details of the study results at the edge.