ISP Taking Advantage Of Government Program

ISP Taking Advantage Of Government Program By Forcing Customers Into

Many corporations have profited greatly from the coronavirus pandemic, and recent coverage of telecommunications conglomerate Verizon?s efforts to exploit recent aid has customers and consumer interest groups furious. The story begins with the Emergency Broadband Benefit.

The Government Plan to Cut Your Internet Bill:

The Emergency Broadband Benefit?or EBB for short?is the largest U.S. government program ever aimed at making Internet access more affordable. The Biden administration has recognized that Internet service is essentially a utility and that it has become increasingly difficult to afford for many Americans due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Those who are eligible can have their Internet bill reduced by $50.

Tens of millions of Americans are believed to be eligible for the EBB, which has a resource pool of $3.2 billion. That money should cover qualified recipients for at least several months. Qualification is not automatic. You can sign up through a government website or by mail. But perhaps the easiest way to sign up is through your ISP. You can call your ISP, and it can activate your credit over the phone.

Verizon Communications:

Headquartered in New York City, Verizon?formerly Bell Atlantic?is an American multinational telecommunications conglomerate. It is perhaps best known for its Verizon mobile network, but it also provides Internet access to millions of American homes via the Verizon Fios fiber-optic network.

Verizon Shenanigans to Increase Profits:

The EBB is designed to soften the burden on the average American. It will not harm Internet Service Providers, and an argument can be made that it will actually benefit ISPs through better customer retention and acquisition. It also was not intended as a profit-generating opportunity.

But that is not the way Verizon sees it. Verizon has adopted a stance that seems straight out of a Hollywood movie about the stereotypical evil corporation. Verizon does not allow customers to sign up online. Instead, you have to call a particular phone number to sign up for the EBB through them, and sales representatives have been instructed to upsell customers when they do. But that is not all.

Verizon has categorized many of its current Internet plans as ?old plans? that are not eligible for the EBB. This includes many of its no-contract plans. In its place, Verizon will offer you a new plan that costs about $10 to $20 more. No worries. This is a net win for you, right? Or at least for three months, it is.

Participation Is Voluntary:

It is worth mentioning that participation in the EBB by an ISP is voluntary and that the Biden administration did the public no favors by allowing corporations to dictate how the money was allocated. Corporate America has a checkered history when it comes to such endeavors.

Not Just Verizon:

This kind of opportunistic behavior is not limited to Verizon and not just to the EBB. Spectrum recently made news when it purchased Time Warner.

It made it practically impossible for acquired customers to alter their service in any way without ?graduating? from their grandfathered plans. Spectrum like Verizon is doing the same thing with the EBB as is AT&T and a number of other high-profile ISPs.

It is notable that Comcast?the largest ISP in America and arguably the most maligned cable company online?allows you to claim the EBB regardless of your current plan.

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