According to some broadband estimates, Mississippi is one of the least connected states in the country. One of the reasons that Mississippi isn’t dead last is due to the recent expansion of true fiber service by CSpire across a number of Mississippi counties.
Unfortunately, because it takes time and money to lay down the fiber, CSpire is making its way very slowly across the state. That leaves a significant majority of state residents without actual broadband speeds. Instead, residents are left with DSL speeds, small data caps and a large monthly bill.
Which is why many in the state where happy when they heard that AT&T was receiving $50 million yearly from the federal government to upgrade residents broadband network. Finally, AT&T would upgrade and expand their UVerse service across the state to many residents stuck with extremely slow and unreliable DSL speeds!
Except, AT&T isn’t doing that. Read for yourself from the President of AT&T Mississippi:
In late August, AT&T informed the FCC that we will participate in the new phase of the program (CAF II) and committed to deliver broadband service to an additional 133,000 rural homes and businesses in the Magnolia State. AT&T … will receive almost $50 million a year in CAF II funding for six years. We plan to use all available technologies, including our new, innovative fixed wireless program to get the job done. – Courier-Journal
AT&T isn’t going to be upgrading people’s DSL service to UVerse or GigaPower (1 Gbps) speeds. AT&T is simply going to push their fixed wireless service onto everyone. Even though AT&T has received tens of billions from taxpayers to maintain and upgrade DSL lines, AT&T has no interest in maintaining or upgrading those lines going forward. They want people on their fixed wireless service since it costs less to maintain and frees AT&T from suggestions that they are redlining areas (i.e. picking wealthy neighborhoods over low-income areas).
This means that people will struggle to stream Netflix, struggle to play online video games and struggle to receive significantly fast speeds. Thanks to already high wireless prices, low data caps and average reliability, this won’t be that big an upgrade to many Mississippi residents.
Oh, and these “upgrades” may not be available for another 6 years.
AT&T almost didn’t take any government money because the FCC demanded that anyone taking federal money MUST provide service of at least 10 Mbps. The definition of broadband is 25 Mbps. AT&T wasn’t even sure that their fixed wireless service would reach 10 Mbps….which most won’t get anyway.
It wasn’t even two years ago that AT&T took money from the federal government to bring “broadband” to 125,000 new areas. The speeds guaranteed by AT&T? 768kbps/200kbps.