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Blog // Connect Ohio

AT&T to Offer Discounted Internet Service for Low-Income Consumers, Pending DIRECTV Merger

By Lindsay Shanahan

On July 2, AT&T offered to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to create a new “affordable, lower-priced, standalone broadband service to low-income consumers in AT&T’s footprint” if the company’s proposed merger with DIRECTV is approved by the FCC. 

The request to create the program was made by FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, who has long championed and promoted broadband adoption initiatives. As proposed, for the next four years, AT&T will offer discounted broadband service to qualifying low-income consumers that do not currently subscribe to AT&T DSL service or are not currently in default with the company from a prior subscription. For $10 per month initially, AT&T will provide DSL at 5 Mbps download in areas in which the company already offers 3 Mbps or higher service. In areas in which AT&T has slower DSL connectivity, qualifying consumers will pay $5 per month initially for 1.5 Mbps service.

This map demonstrates AT&T’s coverage area at these speed thresholds in Ohio.

Residents of households enrolled in the federal Food Stamp program (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP), will be eligible. Eligibility for SNAP is based on household size and income. More information can be found here.

According to the AT&T proposal, after the first year of subscribing, the prices for service will increase to $20/month for 5 Mbps service and $10/month for 1.5 Mbps service. Those prices will remain in effect until the end of the four-year program.

The FCC is still considering AT&T’s proposal to acquire DIRECTV, so the terms and timing of this proposed program could still change. That said, Connect Ohio estimates that there are over 360,000 households in AT&T’s DSL service territory in Ohio that are eligible for the SNAP program and could benefit from the low-cost service offering.

Connect Ohio and its parent nonprofit, Connected Nation, will continue to monitor and provide progress updates of this offering and the overarching merger agreement between AT&T and DIRECTV. For updates, please subscribe to the RSS feed, available through the Connect Ohio website.



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