It's not just the government's fibre optic broadband plan that's hurting Australian broadband prices.With the NBN only getting under $80 million in subsidy for its first four years of operation, the cost of running a household on a $1,200-a-month NBN plan has jumped from about $700 a month in the early 2020s to more than $1.5 million in the first quarter of 2019, according to data from data firm N...
By Kate Kellogg, The Washington TimesRead more”We’re looking at a situation where a large part of the market is still not paying for internet service and they’re looking to take advantage of a situation that we think could help a lot of people in rural areas,” said Steve Kestler, an analyst with Forrester Research, who tracks wireless broadband.
“It’s a bit like the cellphone market in the 1990s, where the majority of consumers didn’t even have the technology to connect to a cell tower.
There’s a lot more demand and a lot less incentive to have cell towers.”
Kestler said that if there’s no federal funding, many rural and low-income people will still be unable to afford broadband.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has said it will make a decision on the wireless broadband issue by the end of the year.
It is expected to be in place for at least three years.
In the meantime, the FCC is allowing providers to use new rules to increase competition in the wireless market, a move that could have some rural consumers feeling less confident about their ability to afford internet service.
“There’s a real opportunity here, and it’s something we need to be focused on,” said Kestling.
The FCC has previously ruled that the nation’s wireless broadband networks must be able to handle “reasonable” competition from other providers.
But it has also granted some waivers, allowing for small rural providers to sell wireless services without providing customers with a cellphone.
The rules also allow the FCC to give smaller providers a competitive edge by allowing them to use cheaper and slower wireless technology, like Wi-Fi and LTE.
The Obama administration said last month that it would lift a ban on the sale of cellphones that are only used by a small number of households.
The move would allow smaller providers to offer their own wireless services.
The U.S. government has estimated that about 10 million Americans lack access to broadband and wireless services, which is more than two-thirds of the population.