Given that the lack of competition keeps broadband prices sky high, it’s really no surprise that most ISPs make their pricing as confusing as possible, either hiding what you’ll pay behind a prequalification wall, or sacking users with a bevy of bizarre fees to covertly jack up the advertised rate post sale. While the industry is quick to issue a slew of press releases every time they bump their downstream speeds a few megabits, they’ll usually do their best to avoid mentioning what customers pay for the honor of these faster services, well aware that they’re only drawing additional attention to competitive shortcomings.
Still, even with layers upon layers of obfuscation, broadband ISPs will usually tell you what they charge users when pressed. Not so with FairPoint. When an industry outlet recently reached out to FairPoint as part of a series trying to compare prices, FairPoint actually refused to tell the news outlet how much it charges for DSL service. When pressed, the company would only provide what has to be one of the most long-winded non-answers I’ve ever seen:
“We offer internet access to both consumer and business customers through a variety of technologies leveraging both copper and fiber infrastructure, including digital subscriber line (‘DSL’), dedicated fiber and lit buildings throughout our footprint,” FairPoint said in an e-mailed statement. “Certain of these services provide speeds up to 1 gigabit per second. In select markets, we also offer cable modem internet service, ‘Fiber to the Home’, and wireless internet access. We sell Internet service as both a standalone, managed or packaged solution. Many customers like to simplify vendors and utilize our packaged and bundled solutions to meet their communications needs.”
That’s code for saying that FairPoint faces so little competition in its territories, it not only doesn’t have to disclose how much it charges for service, it doesn’t have to care whether you find that kind of stonewalling obnoxious. If you need FairPoint’s broadband service, there’s a pretty good chance that FairPoint service is your only option, so you’ll have to wait until you’ve actually signed up to truly learn how much you’ll get to pay.