Internet providers offer Louisville residents disproportionate speeds at similar prices – 89.3 WFPL News Louisville

Louisville neighborhoods with a high proportion of low-income and minority residents pay similar prices for worse internet speeds than others, some just minutes away.

The Markup, a national non-profit publication, I mentioned last week That many Americans are being offered worse deals by ISPs depending on where they live.

Reporters analyzed more than 800,000 Internet service offerings made to specific addresses — with a focus on homes — across nearly 40 cities, including Louisville. They define slow internet speeds as less than 25 Mbps, and average or average speeds of 25-99 Mbps.

Four Internet service providers were examined in the report, two of which — AT&T and EarthLink — provide service in Louisville.

Plans in Louisville offered above-average download speeds compared to other cities using AT&T and EarthLink. codec search I found that Louisville ranked near the top when it came to a portion of the total advertised speeds at 100Mbps or more for AT&T’s $55 and EarthLink’s monthly internet plans of $50-$60.

However, the research also discovered that Louisville has some of the highest disparities in how frequently less affluent and whiter neighborhoods are offered with lower download speeds than its peers.

It found that 35% of addresses in lower-income areas of the city received slow AT&T bids, compared to 4% in higher-income areas. And 34% of low-income titles have slow offerings from EarthLink, compared to 7% of high-income titles.

Addresses of Louisville in areas with lower proportions of the white population also had worse bids from both providers than those in whiter areas, while areas that were It was historically redesigned to prevent black people from living in the same neighborhoods as white people I got worse offers from the areas that were promoted for investment.

Click the items in the legend in the interactive map below to see where each category of Internet service is spread. In Louisville, a lot of the services offered at the slowest speeds are downtown, as well as west and south.

“There are certainly practices that have created institutional biases and institutional racism that persist to this day,” said Grace Semral, chief innovation and civic technology for the Louisville Metro government.

Semral said the consequences of returning the line extend to current internet access and affordability.

She said there is not much governments can do to regulate the service. The Internet is not a public utility in the United States, and prices are set by companies. EarthLink did not provide WFPL News with a comment on the report’s findings.

When asked if AT&T has worked to provide faster speeds and speed-dependent pricing in Louisville, a company spokesperson said in an emailed statement that it invested more than $750 million in Kentucky to provide wired and wireless networks between 2019 and 2021.

The spokesperson said that AT&T’s fiber-optic option, which provides faster Internet speeds than traditional cable, is available in various Louisville neighborhoods, and that the company Offer discounts based on income.

The Markup reported that an AT&T representative told them that “any proposal to discriminate in the provision of Internet access is blatantly wrong,” and that the company has cited “business case challenges” to the FCC in explaining the Internet access gaps.

But reporters also found that even after adjusting for population density, competition and broadband adoption, which can spur corporate financial decisions, connectivity disparities in cities often persisted.

This was the case for Louisville, where adjusting the three factors increased the speed disparities between what AT&T offered in red-lined areas compared to other parts of the city.

The advertised speeds, whether high or low, may differ from the actual speeds. Semral said network improvements could help make the Internet connection more robust.

“Knowing that there is this opportunity through things like Bipartisan Infrastructure Law To be able to get federal subsidies on improvements to their network infrastructure is certainly in the interest of these private entities,” Semral said.

Although Simrall said there was little government officials could do to affect prices, she said the city had worked to improve internet affordability and access, including through the federal government. Affordable communication software. The program offers a monthly discount on one-device internet service to low-income families.

according to Federal data provided by the cityMore than 50,000 families in and around Jefferson County are currently enrolled in the program. Another federal initiative ACP-eligible families are allowed to get a $30-per-month high-speed internet plan, offering at least 100Mbps download, from more than a dozen providers, including AT&T and Spectrum in Louisville.

Reliable internet connectivity is critical after the stresses of COVID-19, said Ricky Santiago, the city’s director of digital inclusion.

“Now after the pandemic, more families are relying on the internet for their success. Indeed, their digital readiness points to pathways to success.

In 2020, the city They completed the first stage From the Louisville Fiber Internet Technology Project, adding 100 miles of fiber-optic cable to the city.

In July this year, FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworsel Suggest increasing the national standard For high-speed internet download speeds from 25Mbps to 100Mbps.

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