Time Warner Wants $20,000 To Connect Rural Customer To Broadband

Ten years ago, a man in central New York decided to build a house in a rural area. This seemed like a pretty good idea at the time, but broadband Internet wasn’t as crucial to modern life then as it is now. There are Time Warner Cable lines in the small town of Pompey, southeast of Syracuse, a third of a mile from his house, but Time Warner says that it would cost more than $20,000 to connect him.

“I didn’t think it would be that difficult, because the cable was on my road,” he told Ars Technica. “I have phone. I have electricity. It’s not completely ‘Green Acres.'”

Ten years ago, the company quoted him about $5,000, and that seemed pretty outrageous at the time. It’s terrifying to contemplate what could happen to that price in another ten years, or if Comcast’s proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable goes through.

As a comparison, it cost only a few hundred dollars to get old-school copper wire phone service to this country house ten years ago. The household has Verizon landline service, but DSL isn’t an option where they live. Neither is FiOS.

While fixed wireless technology has potential for rural customers in the future, it’s not the future yet.

For now, the family pays $90 per month for 20 gigabytes of data from Millennicom, a Verizon mobile virtual network operator (MVNO– that’s a company that resells Verizon service.) It’s not an ideal arrangement, but is slightly better than dialup. The family does any heavy downloading they need at a relative’s house, and waits for a better solution.