NY Sued Over Low-Cost Internet, Apple Antitrust Allegations, CETF Concludes Surveys, 5G Device Growth

New York sued over $15 internet, Apple faces EU antitrust allegations, California surveys conclude, and 5G device adoption grows.

NY Sued Over Low-Cost Internet, Apple Antitrust Allegations, CETF Concludes Surveys, 5G Device Growth
New York faces backlash from telcos over new bill that establishes low-tier service.

May 4, 2021—Trade groups representing telecom companies including AT&T and Verizon are suing New York for creating a low-cost broadband tier they alleged it doesn’t have the right to arbitrarily set.

The bill, which was signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo last month, was designed to create an affordable tier of broadband service that does not exceed $15 per month. The average price for broadband in New York is $50 per month.

Ten separate organizations are listed as the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, including the New York State Telecommunications Association, Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA), and the NTCA.

The suit alleges the state should not have the right to legislate what prices they can set for consumers, particularly considering that many of the telecom companies represented by the plaintiffs already provide affordable tiers to underserved and economically disadvantaged communities.

The state estimated that as many as seven million people across nearly three million households would qualify for this tier of broadband.

“This is nothing more than a transparent attempt by billion-dollar corporations putting profit ahead of creating a more fair and just society,Cuomo said in response to the lawsuit, “Let me be abundantly clear — providing internet in the Empire State is not a god given right. If these companies want to pick this fight, impede the ability of millions of New Yorkers to access this essential service and prevent them from participating in our economic recovery, I say bring it on.”

Apple faces antitrust violations in EU

Competition Commissioner of the European Commission Margrethe Vestager announced last month that Apple was allegedly engaging in anticompetitive activities by requiring music-streaming apps on iPhones to process their in-app purchases through Apple’s payment system, allowing the tech giant to skim money off the top.

“An app store can become a gatekeeper,” Vestager said during her announcement of the charges, “in particular if there is only one app store available in a mobile ecosystem.” Notably, Apple does not offer an alternative method to download software.

Apple takes a 30 percent fee on every transaction that is processed through its system.

On Monday, Apple had its first day in court against Epic Games, whose popular game Fortnite was the subject of a related controversy when its makers allowed players to circumvent Apple’s fees by creating an in-game system for in-game purchases. Apple responded by banning the game app from its store and accused Epic of violating its terms of service.

CETF-USC concludes Statewide Broadband Adoption survey

The California Emerging Technology Fund conducted a series of surveys in conjunction with the University of Southern California regarding broadband use during the pandemic.

There were notable disparities along income levels, as lower-income families reported lower levels of technology adoption, despite improvement over the course of the pandemic. Additionally, the Fund also noted that children in immigrant communities are taking longer to return to school, with only 42 percent of parents in LA Unified School District (featuring a sizeable immigrant population) stating that they have plans to send their children back to school, compared to 82 percent of parents in West LA (with a smaller immigrant population).

According to the study, access to connected devices is growing, but racial minorities are still disproportionately impacted by the digital divide. This issue is compounded low awareness of programs designed to help consumers secure affordable internet. Data collected reflected that only a third of surveyed parents were aware of such programs.

The study also said 84 percent of surveyed adults were sufficiently connected, 5.6 percent were under-connected with only a smartphone to access the internet, and 9.6 were not connected to the internet.

More than half of all smartphones sold since Q4 2020 are 5G capable

According to data published by Counterpoint, more than 53 million smart devices equipped with 5G were sold between the launch of 5G in 2019 and the end of the first quarter of 2021, by which point it amounted to 57 percent of all smart devices sold.

This milestone is in no small part thanks to the release of Apple’s iPhone 12.

Jeff Fieldhack, who is strategies director for the US Mobile Devices and Carrier, said he anticipates that as 5G continues to become more widespread, new technologies improve, and sales continue to increase, the price of the technology will drop.

“We believe 5G prices will drop below $250 in H2 2021. Qualcomm’s 400 series Snapdragon processor and MediaTek’s 700 and 800 Dimensity series chips will help achieve these price drops.”

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