Ajit Pai promised cheaper Internet—real prices rose 19 percent instead

Illustration of fiber Internet lines with dollar signs.

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The average US home-Internet bill increased 19 percent during the first three years of the Trump administration, disproving former Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai’s claim that deregulation lowered prices, according to a new report by advocacy group Free Press. For tens of millions of families that aren’t wealthy, “these increases are felt deeply, forcing difficult decisions about which services to forgo so they can maintain critical Internet access services,” Free Press wrote.

The 19 percent Trump-era increase is adjusted for inflation to match the value of 2020 dollars, with the monthly cost rising from $39.35 in 2016 to $47.01 in 2019. Without the inflation adjustment, the average household Internet price rose from $36.48 in 2016 to $46.38 in 2019, an increase of 27 percent.

The nominal increase in each of the three years was between 7.27 percent and 9.94 percent, while inflation each year ranged from 1.81 percent to 2.44 percent.

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