Poor Americans Receive Slower Internet Service than the Rich

by S.A. Prince

If you’re thinking about switching from your cable provider, think again. It may be in your best interest to have your internet run through cable providers like Time Warner, Comcast and Verizon FiOS.

According to the Center for Public Integrity, those in poorer neighborhoods are more likely to receive slower internet than those in rich:

“The Center’s data analysis found that the largest noncable internet providers collectively offer faster speeds to about 40 percent of the population they serve nationwide in wealthy areas compared with just 22 percent of the population in poor areas. That leaves tens of millions of Americans with the choice of either purchasing an expensive connection from the only provider in their area, typically a cable company, or just doing the best they can with slower speeds. Middle-income areas don’t fare much better, with a bit more than 27 percent of the population having access to a DSL provider’s fastest speeds.”

Who’d have thought that a corporation would adjust their service provided based on demographics? That’s never happened before, right?

What we continually find is that service is not all-encompassing, and the benefits do not trickle down or are shared amongst all consumers. No, what we have found is foul play on the part of the service provider, over, and over, and over again. Let’s not soon forget Factor VIII, the HIV-contaminated blood clot drug that Bayer sold, and that’s just one of literally hundreds of examples of corporate foul play.

It would be too costly to simply round corners and operate with integrity. Instead, it seems the primary goal for many businesses is NOT to provide quality service. They’ll use any legal loophole with no regard to morality, and if they can’t do it legally, be sure that their corporate lawyers are doing their due diligence to measure opportunity cost. Why? For the almighty dollar, an effort to procure more revenue with minimum output.

The poor and unsuspecting are usually the ones getting screwed over. It’s unfortunate that the least educated and financially free people are usually an abundance within American cities. These are the perfect set conditions for those who operate without a moral compass, as those people are less willing (due to a lack of education) and less able (due to a lack of money) to hold a corporation’s feet to the flame.

And who do these corporations blame when their acts in the dark come into the light? Their stakeholders, or the all-compassing and indefinable entities who have a vested interest in the corporation (See this explained in Systems of blame: Stakeholder theory and the ethics of responsibility in the Exxon Valdez crisis). It’s classic misdirection. Who does the Court of Public Opinion hold responsible if blame is passed to either a loophole in law, or a group too large to be defined?

There’s often only one choice to make when dealing with corporations, and that’s to cease doing business with them altogether. Stop doing business with CenturyLink, Verizon, and AT&T. That’s hard though, isn’t it? Their products are hardwired into our lives. Not only is that, but the alternative (local cable providers) not much better.

It would be a drastic change to suddenly stop using cellphones that utilize the aforementioned corporations’ towers, especially considering how big they are. BUT, let’s say we did stop using their products and services. Imagine a world without smart phones, an existence without people Snapchatting away on their commute to work, or Instagramming photos of their entree at the local delicatessen. That’s a world that most aren’t ready for, and corporations like Verizon know that. So, we’ll settle. We’ll settle on being (or seeing others) inadequately treated by corporations, as long as that treatment doesn’t interfere with our comfort.


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