Scrooge Verizon! AT&T did the right thing, offering $5 and $10 packages for the poor. Anyone in the food stamp program qualifies. Speeds are 10 megabits down where AT&T can deliver that speed, ~75% of their homes. It's 3 megabits or 5 megabits where that's the fastest AT&T can provide. Where AT&T doesn't have DSL (about 10%,) they do not offer discounted wireless. Of course a higher speed is preferable, but this is decent for a basic service. About 40M Americans are eligible for food stamps. More than a third of them live in AT&T territory.

With HD TV looking pretty good these days at 3 megabits, people will be able to access 90% or more of all Internet functionality. The main thing that is impractical at those speeds is keeping lots of music and video in the cloud. I'm finding that very convenient, especially because Amazon offers unlimited storage for $55.year. I have 6 terabytes now backed up. 

Jim is Jim Cicconi,  AT&T uber-lobbyist who negotiated this as part of the DirecTV deal. He accepted a requirement that this time AT&T will promote the service and make it easy to sign up, They seem to be moving forward in good faith. Ralph is Vice-Chairman Ralph de la Vega, one of the best in the business. He ran the early DSL program at BellSouth, which was more successful than at any other U.S. phone company. Randall Stephenson, John Donovan, and John Stankey round out the AT&T team at the top. I'm calling them out because attractive prices for the poor are by far the best way to get more Internet users.

Comcast has proven that programs like this can work. Comcast Internet Essentials has connected more people than many billions in government spending. That's because the main reason literate people don't connect is the price is too high. Non-subscribers are not so stupid; they know what the Internet is and don't need to be educated. Among other things, it's hard to get a date sometimes if you're not on Facebook. 

There's a cap of 150 gigabytes to 600 gigabytes. That means some people will only be able to watch 2-4 hours of TV per day.  That's less than the average U.S. family, much less one with many kids. A free router is included. there is no install charge, and there is no contract. They do a credit check but will not refuse service. They have toll free numbers in both English and Spanish and clear descriptions on the web site.

Comcast showed the way with their $10 Internet Essentials program, now running at 10 megabits across almost half the country. Essentials now connects over 2,000,000 people. That's far more than any government program in the United States. Most were expensive failures, usuallycovered up by CYA types. Two years ago in Aspen, I asked David Cohen of Comcast, "How can we get others to do similar?" He answered, "As people see what we're accomplishing, they will do similar." I was highly skeptical but David was right.  

Verizon is the largest holdout. The top four cable companies have programs. So do most of the regional phone companies. Verizon also has some of the highest prices in the developed world. It's $60-80 for basic Internet service in FiOS territory. That's two or three times the cost in most of Europe.

Lowell McAdam is more ethical than most corporate executives but he should be ashamed about this.

 From AT&T

 

AT&T Setting Out to Connect More U.S. Residents to the Internet

ENTERTAINMENT / Dallas, Texas, 3 days ago

 

 

“Access from AT&T” is an Affordable Wireline Home Internet Option For Low-Income Households

AT&T1 is making wireline home Internet service more affordable for low-income households starting today through Access from AT&T, a new program designed to help bridge the digital divide.

Qualifying households will get the fastest of three speed tiers – 10Mbps, 5Mbps or 3Mbps –available at their address. Internet speeds provided at 10Mbps and 5Mbps will cost $10 a month, and Internet speeds at 3Mbps will cost $5 a month. We will also waive installation and Internet equipment fees for participating households. Additional taxes and fees may apply.2

Access from AT&T is available to households with at least one resident participating in the U.S. Department of Agriculture Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, and located within the 21 states where we offer home Internet service.3

“We’re making it easier for more people to connect to friends, family, their communities and the possibilities of the Internet,” said Cheryl Choy, vice president wired voice and broadband products, AT&T. “Access from AT&T is an affordable Internet option available to millions of Americans with limited budgets.”

“At EveryoneOn, we believe that a home Internet connection is life-changing. From completing homework online to applying for a job to interacting with family and friends, a connection to the digital world is vital for all Americans” said Chike Aguh, chief executive officer of EveryoneOn. “Access from AT&T, and other programs like it, will help more low-income Americans experience the opportunity that the Internet provides.”

We’re working with school districts and national and community-based organizations to educate eligible households on Access from AT&T. The new, low-cost program will be available through April 2020.4 Complete program details are available at att.com/access.

The AT&T Digital You portal has additional resources on the Access from AT&T program as well. The portal has resources and tools for getting online, using technology safely, utilizing online learning sites, job searching and more. Created in collaboration with Common Sense Media, the Digital You portal also provides free training on topics like basic computer skills and ways to maximize online privacy and security.

Potential customers can learn more and see if they qualify by visiting att.com/access, or by calling 1-855-220-5211 for assistance in English or 1-855-220-5225 for assistance in Spanish.

Geographic and service restrictions apply to AT&T Internet services. For more information on AT&T Internet, TV and voice services — or to find out if these services are available in your neighborhood — visit www.att.com/u-verse.5

1AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc.

2Slower speed tiers (5Mbps for $10 a month or 3Mbps for $5 a month) may be provided depending on availability at your address. Internet speed claims represent maximum network service capability speeds. Actual customer speeds may vary based on factors including site traffic, content provider server capacity, internal network management factors and device capabilities, and are not guaranteed. For more information, go to att.com/speed101. Pricing excludes taxes. Visit www.att.com/access for additional details.

3Service availability and speed tiers may vary by individual address. View www.att.com/access for additional details.

4Access from AT&T will be available for all qualifying customers through at least April 2020. Customers who sign up after April 2019 will remain eligible for all program benefits for at least one year after signing up for the program.

5From 4/22/16 through 5/22/16, service will include a monthly data allowance of either 150GB data/mo. or 250GB data/mo. depending on the type and speed of service you receive. Beginning 5/23/16 and thereafter, service will include a monthly data allowance of either 150GB, 300GB or 600GB data/mo. depending on the type and speed of service you receive. If you exceed your monthly data plan allowance, you will be automatically charged $10 for each 50GB of data usage in excess of your data plan, even if less than 50 gigabytes is used. For more information, go to att.com/internet-usage. 

- See more at: http://about.att.com/story/connecting_more_us_residents_to_the_internet.html#sthash.UbSlrCId.dpuf

 

VI. DISCOUNTED BROADBAND SERVICES PROGRAM 1. Introduction. We find that the availability of better and lower priced bundles of video and broadband service is a potential benefit of the transaction. However, it also is in the public interest to ensure that a bundle of video and broadband services is not the consumer’s only competitive choice, and this protection may be particularly important for low-income subscribers who may not be able to afford bundled services. Thus, the purpose of this condition is to make available an affordable, low-price Standalone broadband service to lowincome consumers in the Company’s wireline footprint. 2. Condition. Within nine (9) months of the Closing Date, the Company shall establish and commence a program to substantially increase broadband adoption in low-income households throughout AT&T’s wireline footprint (the “Discounted Broadband Services Program”). a. The Company shall offer wireline Broadband Internet Access Service with download speeds of at least 10 Mbps, where technically available, to qualifying households in the Company’s wireline footprint for no more than $10 per month. If 10 Mbps wireline Broadband Internet Access Service is not technically available, the Company shall offer wireline Broadband Internet Access Service with download speeds of at least 5 Mbps, where technically available, to qualifying households in the Company’s wireline footprint for no more than $10 per month. b. Where AT&T has deployed broadband service at top speeds below 5 Mbps, the Company shall offer wireline Broadband Internet Access Service at speeds of at least 3 Mbps, where technically available, to qualifying households in the Company’s wireline footprint for no more than $5 per month. c. Qualifying households are those where at least one individual participates in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (“SNAP”), subject to annual recertification, and that do not have outstanding debt for AT&T’s Fixed Broadband Internet Access Services that was incurred within the six (6) months prior to the individual’s request for services under the Discounted Broadband Services Program or that is incurred for services provided under the Discounted Broadband Services Program and that is subject to the Company’s ordinary debt collection procedures. d. The Company shall offer the discounts set forth in this condition for at least four (4) years from the commencement of the Discounted Broadband Services Program. Qualifying households who sign up for the Discounted Broadband Services Program in the fourth year of the Discounted Broadband Services Program shall remain eligible for at least twelve (12) months. e. Qualifying households shall not be required to pay any installation or modem charges or fees in order to participate in the Discounted Broadband Services Program. f. For the period during which this condition is in effect, the Company shall clearly and conspicuously market the Discounted Broadband Services Program, including but not limited to undertaking the following actions: (i) Providing on the Company’s consumer-facing homepage a link to a webpage devoted to describing the Discounted Broadband Services Program; and (ii) Ensuring that the Company’s Customer Service Representatives are trained prior to the commencement of the program to inform consumers of the availability of Federal Communications Commission FCC 15-94 165 the Discounted Broadband Services Program offerings, including pricing, and terms and conditions as described in this condition. g. The Company shall effectively engage in targeted outreach efforts, in coordination with schools and community-based organizations serving low-income individuals and families, including, but not limited to veterans, the elderly, and those who are nonEnglish speaking, to adequately publicize the availability of the Discounted Broadband Services Program, to ensure that qualified individuals and households are informed about and have access to the program. The Company shall make adjustments to its outreach efforts in response to reasonable requests from the Commission’s Office of General Counsel and, at a minimum, shall take the following actions during each year that the program is in effect: (i) Promote the Discounted Broadband Services Program, including through public service announcements that shall have a minimum annual value of $15 million. (ii) Distribute Discounted Broadband Services Program information to at least twenty (20) organizations that work with low-income communities on a national and local level. (iii)Coordinate with state education departments and local school districts, including requesting that all school districts within the Company’s wireline footprint include information about the Discounted Broadband Services Program with their communications to families in advance of the school year, including in each communication relating to the National School Lunch Program (“NSLP”), as feasible and appropriate, to ensure that families that qualify for the NSLP are informed about the Discounted Broadband Services Program at the beginning of the school year and have the opportunity to register. (iv) Provide appropriate promotional and collateral materials to all public school districts within the Company’s wireline footprint and requesting that the materials be included in NSLP mailings. (v) Educate school professionals about the Discounted Broadband Services Program, including by conducting outreach to various education-related associations such as parent-teacher associations and associations representing guidance counselors and social workers, in order to reach those who are most likely to work closely with students and families. h. Prospective participants shall be directed to a Company phone number dedicated to the Discounted Broadband Services Program to verify eligibility. Qualifying callers shall be transferred to a centralized order-entry center. i. The Company shall submit a report in accordance with the filing and service requirements set forth in Section VII.5. herein on a semi-annual basis that includes a description of the Company’s compliance with the condition, with the first such report to be submitted six (6) months after the Closing Date. The report shall at least include the following: (i) The total number of households participating in the Discounted Broadband Services Program; (ii) A detailed description of outreach efforts made during the reporting period to publicize the Discounted Broadband Services Program to schools and community-based organizations, including a list of the community-based Federal Communications Commission FCC 15-94 166 organizations participating, and representative examples of the promotional and collateral materials provided; and (iii)An analysis of the effectiveness of the Discounted Broadband Services Program, describing any adjustments the Company has implemented during the reporting period or plans to implement to improve its effectiveness.

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