Los Angeles Times

As 5G wireless arrives, older phones are about to become roadkill

Wireless customers nationwide can look forward to a big upgrade in service in 2022 — and possibly some major headaches as millions of older phones become obsolete. The wireless industry’s transition to super-fast, more reliable 5G networks will be finalized over the next 12 months. To free up bandwidth for the switch, older 3G networks are being shut down. The big catch for consumers: As many as 10 million 3G cellphones now in circulation will be useless.

Renew your service or we’ll trash your credit score, Spectrum tells ex-customer

Steve Schklair wonders why he’s being muscled by cable giant Spectrum. “It’s been years since I’ve even been a subscriber,” he said. Nevertheless, Schklair received a strange letter from Spectrum saying that “as a one-time courtesy,” the company will cancel the debt it claims he owes and stop reporting him as a deadbeat to credit agencies — if he agrees to resume cable service. A Spectrum spokesperson confirmed the letter’s authenticity and called it “an opportunity to reconnect” with the cable company. All subscription-based businesses work hard to retain and renew customer relationships.

Free broadband service is available to many Californians. Here’s how to apply

The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted just how important it is to have a broadband internet connection at home — for remote school or work, virtual doctor’s exams and meetings and many other pursuits. But broadband can be costly, so the federal government offered new subsidies to help low-income households afford a high-speed line and a device with which to use it. Dozens of internet service providers all across California have signed up for the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) program, which covers up to $50 of the monthly cost of an internet connection (or up to $75 on Tribal lands).