The three As

Umair Qayyum
3 min readMay 14, 2023





Affordability Concerns and User Experience

With an average US ARPU of $64, it’s important to evaluate the affordability of internet plans available in our areas. However, a recent analysis by The Vernonburg Group reveals that the FCC’s Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) subsidy is expected to run out of funding by May 2024 (source: This raises concerns about the accessibility of affordable connectivity for millions of households.

As the digital landscape continues to evolve, the affordability, availability, and adoption of broadband services have become critical factors in ensuring equitable connectivity. In this discussion, we’ll explore the current state of broadband affordability in the United States, the impact of overbuilding, and the need for sustainable solutions that bridge the digital divide.

Personal Experience and the Need for Affordable Gigabit Plans

Sharing a personal experience, I currently enjoy a $55 AT&T plan with a satisfactory 300/300 Mbps service. As a consumer, I question the need for higher-priced plans when the existing options meet my requirements. While some may have the means to opt for gigabit plans priced at $120-$140, it’s crucial to consider the affordability factor for rural areas where $70 plans may already stretch budgets. Striking a balance between user needs and pricing is key to ensuring sustainable broadband adoption.

The average US household income is $68,700 per the 2020 US census.

Local Internet Plans

To gauge the affordability of internet plans in your area, let’s consider the available options. Are there plans priced at $30, aligning with the ACP program subsidy? How about plans priced at $50, which is a common benchmark for affordability? Lastly, are there plans at $75, matching the average ARPU? Understanding the options in our localities helps us evaluate the accessibility of affordable connectivity.

Estimate plan costs for top 10 ISPs
Estimate plan costs for top 10 WISPs

Overbuilding and the Downward Spiral

The fiber overbuilding trend raises concerns about market saturation and price competition. As infrastructure expands, providers offering similar services will inevitably compete on pricing, leading to potential downward pressure on affordability. It’s essential to strike a balance between infrastructure expansion and targeted connectivity to avoid leaving unconnected areas behind.

A Future of Equitable Connectivity

In the quest for broadband availability, affordability, and adoption, it’s crucial to navigate the challenges posed by overbuilding and unsustainable pricing models. By focusing on bridging the digital divide through strategic infrastructure development, targeted subsidies, and fostering healthy competition, we can ensure that even the most remote and underserved areas have access to affordable and reliable connectivity.

Striving for Sustainable Affordability

As we navigate the broadband landscape, affordability remains a key pillar in fostering equitable connectivity. Balancing the three A’s of broadband — availability, affordability, and adoption — is crucial. By embracing targeted infrastructure development, sustainable pricing models, and inclusive subsidies, we can build a future where everyone has access to affordable and reliable internet services.

Remember, the journey to affordable connectivity requires collaboration and thoughtful decision-making to avoid the pitfalls of overbuilding and ensure a sustainable and inclusive digital future.



Umair Qayyum

Co-Founder of WiFrost. Poor writing and terrible jokes are my jam.