Since calling to cancel my satellite teevee/internet connection I’ve been contacted by the company’s “customer satisfaction” person who has offered to lower the cost of my plans and give me a free service call to see if there’s a problem with my dish (I’ve been complaining for 18 months to no avail).
Several minutes later a “rival” ISP called to tell me that a government subsidy, aimed at people like me, allows his company to offer free installation and no rental fee for its equipment. He told me, when asked, that this plan has been in effect since October. “Why didn’t they tell me this last week when I enquired about the plans on offer?” I wanted to know. “Well,” he said, because of cutbacks the plan has been limited in the numbers it can serve. There’s only a limited number eligible for each zip code. I did a check and found some more had become available in your area, probably because there’s a lot of people 80 years old who’ll never own a computer. This means, “he went on, “that your address is eligible to receive the subsidy. And it won’t cost you a penny for installation or rental, Uncle Sam pays it.”
He was lying through his back teeth.
The FCC voted in February to overhaul the Universal Service Fund, designed years ago, broadly speaking, to provide all Americans with phone access, and part of that overhaul may eventuate in better internet access for the poor and some rural areas. But implementation would probably be a decade away – if Congress allows it.
That’s all for now. I’m tipping my service will be disconnected soon and I want to get this, further evidence of cooperation between fierce business “rivals”, out there before it is.