By The Markup Media
Oct 18 2022
Reporters Leon Yin and Aaron Sankin gathered and analyzed nearly 1 million internet offers from AT&T, CenturyLink, Verizon and EarthLink in 38 cities across America, including Detroit. All four companies routinely offered faster internet in some neighborhoods, while charging the same price for connections below 25 Mbps in other areas, a speed the Federal Communications Commission says is so slow it does not qualify as broadband service
The providers offered the faster internet speeds to neighborhoods that were whiter than those stuck paying the same amount for slower internet.
In Detroit, almost 40% of internet offers The Markup reviewed were for slow speeds below 25 Mbps. Only 14% of offers were for speeds above 200 Mbps, or “blazing fast” speeds.
“I’m happy these findings are out there,” Joshua Edmonds, Director of Digital Inclusion for the City of Detroit told Outlier. “Now we can empirically prove what some people have dismissed as subjective for quite some time. Detroiters don’t have the internet they deserve.”
Years ago, internet providers used to offer cheaper prices for slower internet speeds. That practice has largely disappeared as providers adopted “tier flattening,” policies, where customers pay the same price for service regardless of speed. The Markup investigation only included wirelined internet service providers, not 5G or satellite providers, that used tier flattening.
This practice doesn’t allow Detroiters to pay more for faster or more reliable internet speeds and doesn’t keep Detroiters who already pay high prices from being stuck with slow and unreliable service.
“When you understand how internet prices are billed then people should start getting angry,” said Edmonds.read more