How Do You Convince The Cable Co To Lay Broadband To A Semirural Area?

Like many Americans, Liv and her neighbors are cut off from high-speed broadband access because they live in an area that the cable company says is too far for them to run lines to. She says she’s spent a few years trying to convince them but hasn’t made any headway, even getting the neighbors to band together and say they would all agree to service. What can she do to change AT&T or Comcast’s mind, or can she even and would she be better off with a DIY solution?

I live in a semi-rural area. We are only a 10 minute drive from the nearest grocery store, McDonalds, Arby’s, and Sonic. There are about 14 families moderately spaced in my neighborhood, and every single one of them is willing to budget up to $100 a month, plus installation, to get any sort of line internet out there. Wild Blue is unbelievably awful, I currently use Virgin Mobile’s MiFi service but they’re throttling my connection, and several others use Sprint to little effect. All told, if this service were to be expanded (by about half a mile from the current lines) into my area, whatever service will be gaining around 40 houses. Comcast will allow anyone out here to go ahead with an initial purchase, but then money is kept in limbo forever, as they seem to have no intention of gaining customers. AT&T has met us with similar results. The situation would be different if I didn’t run a small consulting business out of my home, but the internet is how I make money.

I’m seeking any advice from commenters, or the Consumerist staff, on how to convince a company that yes, it’s worth it.

Thank you!

- Liv

I suppose you could look into your group of home going Dutch with the cable company on laying the lines, but I imagine that will still be extremely expensive.

Have you looked into setting up a longrange wifi connection? You could rent a small office space in the Arby’s area and set up a broadband connection there and then use a longrange wifi kit to beam it back to your house. It’ll take some expense and DIY kit-use, but it’s an option. And depending on your techno-savvy, you might be able to subsidize the cost by selling access to your neighbors.