Instead, they tend to favor the wealthy over the poor, according to an investigation by the Center for Public Integrity.
The noncable internet providers — the four largest are AT Inc., Verizon Communications Inc., CenturyLink Inc., and Frontier Communications Corp. — hook up customers over telephone wires that are Digital Subscriber Lines DSL , or they use hybrid networks that include some fiber connections near and sometimes directly to homes.
Poor areas not served by the cable companies are not included in the Center s analysis, which results in what seems like an equitable distribution of speeds across income levels.
After all, the companies and economists say, providers must invest millions of dollars in equipment to boost speeds over relatively short distances in their service areas.
Besides, fewer lower-income households purchase a home Internet connection than do their higher-income neighbors.
Society said we would not limit dial tone to those who could pay the most, we gave it to all, said telecommunications lawyer Gerard Lederer of Best Best & Krieger LLC in Washington, DC, in an e-mail.