In its first-of-its-kind nationwide examination of internet service providers (ISP), Consumer Reports, an independent nonprofit research organization uncovered arbitrary price differences, confusing bills, hidden fees, wildly varying speeds, and an overall lack of transparency that revealed that consumers were exploited.
In terms of internet speed, download speeds frequently fell short of the speeds promised by ISPs in advertisements and service agreements. It’s even worse for people who pay for premium plans, who are promised 940 to 1,200Mbps and receive median speeds ranging from 360 to 373Mbps.
An anonymous AT&T bill also shows how consumers are given discounts seemingly at random and without instructions on how to keep the discount. According to the bill, the customer received two $10 discounts on their original $80 bill. Because these terms are not defined, it is difficult to compare pricing with other ISPs, stifling competition.
Subscribers were also charged “network enhancement fees,” “internet infrastructure fees,” “deregulated administration fees,” and “technology service fees.” This made the prices even more perplexing. Comcast, Cox, AT&T, and Wave Broadband, for example, use data caps in some areas and charge extra fees for exceeding the caps. While unlimited data plans are available, they can cost up to $49.99.
The report also revealed that bills had issues that made it difficult to understand the true cost of internet service, preventing people from comparing prices.
The sources for this piece include an article in ExtremeTech.