Poor, less white US neighborhoods get worst internet dealssource • themarkup.org
Leon Yin and Aaron Sankin:
The Markup gathered and analyzed more than 800,000 internet service offers from AT&T, Verizon, Earthlink, and CenturyLink in 38 cities across America and found that all four routinely offered fast base speeds at or above 200 Mbps in some neighborhoods for the same price as connections below 25 Mbps in others.
The neighborhoods offered the worst deals had lower median incomes in nine out of 10 cities in the analysis. In two-thirds of the cities where The Markup had enough data to compare, the providers gave the worst offers to the least-White neighborhoods.
These providers also disproportionately gave the worst offers to formerly redlined areas in every one of the 22 cities examined where digitized historical maps were available. These are areas a since-disbanded agency created by the federal government in the 1930s had deemed “hazardous” for financial institutions to invest in, often because the residents were Black or poor. Redlining was outlawed in 1968.
By failing to price according to service speed, these companies are demanding some customers pay dramatically higher unit prices for advertised download speed than others. CenturyLink, which showed the most extreme disparities, offered some customers service of 200 Mbps, amounting to as little as $0.25 per Mbps, but offered others living in the same city only 0.5 Mbps for 400 times as much—$100 per Mbps.
Residents of neighborhoods offered the worst deals aren’t just being ripped off; they’re denied the ability to participate in remote learning, well-paying remote jobs, and even family connection and recreation—ubiquitous elements of modern life.
There are no words.