Well, not usually, obviously, but in this case, yes.
Malkia Cyril thinks (to use a generous verb) that poor people are being screwed over by telecom companies who are “offering a cell phone package to poor people that is only affordable because it contains significant roadblocks to full Internet access.”
Metro PCS has seized upon recent rules passed by the FCC which fail to protect wireless users as an opportunity to tier the cell phone data packages it offers, and make a killing on the backs of its poorest customers. Lowering the price for partial Internet service while calling it “unlimited access” is a fraudulent gimmick that Metro PCS hopes will confuse low-income consumers into buying its phones…The FCC’s rules paved the way for Metro PCS to give its poorest consumers access to only a few websites, sell that substandard service at a discounted price, and call it “affordable Internet service”.
You read that right–selling for lower quality at lower prices is somehow an evil plot to make a killing off poor people. Yes, lowering the price you charge poor people is screwing them over.
David Honig describes the plans as follows:
One of the wireless carriers is offering three packages, all of VOIP-enabled (so they can get services like Skype) with free access to any lawful website, and all of them clearly labeled:
• Plan A: $40, with no multimedia streaming (that is, no movie downloads such as Netflix, porn, etc.)
• Plan B: $50, with metered multimedia streaming.
• Plan C: $60, with unlimited multimedia streaming.
Could you decide which of these three packages meets your needs?
Or is all this just too confusing? Cyril thinks so.
So poor people would have the option to pay more and get better internet access on their phone, but apparently they’d rather put that extra money to some other use. Cyril thinks giving them that choice is harmful to them.
I’m with the poor folk on this one. I don’t have internet access on my phone, and despite occasional moments of temptation when I see friends surfing the net on their ubercool smartphones, I have no interest in paying for that service. Cyril, it seems, wants to make sure I do pay, whether I want to or not.