BroadbandNow Publishes State Data Resource, FTC Cracks Down on Frontier, NordVPN and India

BroadbandNow’s latest state research gives users a clearer picture on where each state stands on broadband.

BroadbandNow Publishes State Data Resource, FTC Cracks Down on Frontier, NordVPN and India
Photo of Samuel Levine from Twitter via Space Coast Daily

May 6, 2022 — BroadbandNow released new “state” pages on their website, providing fresh insights into who is served and to what kind of broadband residents of a particular state have access.

Announced on Wednesday, Each of BroadbandNow’s state pages — e.g. Alabama — provides a state rankings related to overall broadband availability, access to affordable broadband, access to fixed wireless, access to fiber, and other statistics. BroadbandNow says that the data is dynamically updated in real-time.

Each page also has an interactive speed map breaking down which counties have internet at 25+ Megabits per second (Mbps), 100+ Mbps, and 1 Gigabit per second (Gbps).

Additionally, each page also has several tables breaking down how much of each county has access to 100 Mbps broadband speeds, the fastest providers in the state, and the cities with the fastest broadband connections. BroadbandNow also provides additional research on broadband and the digital divide.

FTC found Frontier lied to customers about speed

The Federal Trade Commission announced Thursday that Frontier Communications had been charging customers for speeds that it was not delivering on.

“Frontier lied about its speeds and ripped off customers by charging high-speed prices for slow service,” FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection Director Samuel Levine said in a statement. “Today’s proposed order requires Frontier to back up its high-speed claims. It also arms customers lured in by Frontier’s lies with free, easy options for dropping their slow service.”

Frontier sold DSL subscriptions on a tier based model, with users paying more for higher download speeds. In May of 2021, the FTC filed a complaint alleging that Frontier subscribers rarely were able to reach their maximum download speed and typically fell short of their tier’s speeds.

As a result, Frontier will be required to provide evidence of their asserted speeds and notify consumers if they are unable to meet those speeds; verify those speeds before signing, upgrading, or billing new customers; prohibit Frontier from signing up new customers in areas sharing network equipment and experiencing congestion; notify customers of the FTC’s findings and allow them to drop their service free of charge.

Frontier will also be required to pay $8.5 million in civil penalties and $250 thousand in damages.

NordVPN may leave India in wake of ministry order

NordVPN has stated that it may be planning to leave the Indian market after an order from the Indian Computer Emergency Team to preserve user data.

The order was levied against all virtual private network providers; VPNs work by assigning a different IP address to a user’s device, allowing them to appear as if their are interacting with the internet from somewhere else on the globe. Users do this for different reasons and not all of them nefarious. Whether they just want to browse the internet anonymously, access contented that may be geo-locked from their region, or simply make it more difficult for private companies to collect data on them.

“We are committed to protecting the privacy of our customers therefore, we may remove our servers from India if no other options are left,” Nord Security spokesperson Patricija Cerniauskaite told Entrackr in a statement.

India’s order from April 28 would require that VPN companies save customer names, emails, phone numbers, their reasons for using the VPN, and the IP addresses they use. The order also requested VPN services to establish an “ownership pattern” for customers, effectively undermining much of the value many customers see in VPN services.

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