Live in Raleigh or Durham? You’re paying more, getting less from the same company.

So,  what happens when your town city or shows its interest in providing broadband services? I can only speak from our experience in Wilson, but it’s pretty interesting.

First, the incumbent provider lowered rates. After years of getting a yearly rate hike, they stopped in the City of Wilson. Haven’t had one in a couple of years now.

In fact, check this out. This morning, I went to the website of the cable company to check prices.

Here are the speed and price for the cable company in Raleigh. Click on the image for a better look.

Screen shot of cable company website on July 14, 2009

Broadband rates in Raleigh from the cable company. Screenshot from July 14, 2009

So, for $49.95 a month in Raleigh, you can get up to 7 Mbps for a month. For another 10 bucks, you can get up to 10 Mbps.

Now, compare that to Wilson. Again, same company.

Broadband costs in Wilson from the cable company. Screenshot from July 14, 2009

Broadband rates in Wilson from the cable company. Screenshot from July 14, 2009

How about that?

If you live in Raleigh, you pay more money for lower speeds than people in Wilson get from the same company. If you upgrade to 10 Mbps and live in Raleigh, you’ll pay $59.90 while a Wilson customer 40 minutes east of you pays $46.95. Heck, they don’t even offer 7 Mbps in Wilson. You go straight to 10. Greenlight’s minimum speed is 10 Mbps, too.

They also rolled out all sorts of discounts for packages, as long as customers were willing to sign up for two years.

I understand that they’re a private company and can charge pretty much whatever they want. I do find it interesting, though, that they can create these magically higher speeds for less money in two towns that are so close together. Why do people in Wilson pay less than people in Raleigh? Because people in Wilson have a choice. Greenlight offers the fastest speeds ( up to 100 Mbps residential) at a better value.

If your city is considering a fiber network, just know that those high cable and broadband prices you’ve heard about for so long may loosen up the minute you announce your interest.


4 Responses

  1. I am interested to know if the more affordable and efficient access to the Internet is affecting area unemployment. Are businesses planning locations or moves to Wilson?

    Do you have advice about how to convince regional locales like Clayton, Garner, and Smithfield to pursue their own projects?

    • Dean, we’re starting to see some of that. Quite a few small businesses have opened in Wilson during the past year and many of them are Greenlight members. I believe it’s probably helped us during this national recession, though our county’s unemployment is still high.

      Look for more of that in the future as word gets out. So far so good, though.

      As for advice, just be ready to put a target on your back. Big cable companies will use their massive resources, including lobbying and think-tank “reports” (one-sided and full of factual errors) to shoot you down.

  2. Incredible! Perfect example of how broken this system is. Here’s one way to have your voice heard.

  3. I live in Raleigh and use road runner for internet. For the first year, they gave me the “turbo” service for something like $39/mo. After that first year, have to pay $48/mo for their standard service, which may be rated for 7 Mbps, but my bandwidth tests yield much lower results than that. I really REALLY wish we had more choices here in Raleigh, Time Warner Cable is a ripoff!

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