FairPoint DSL Internet Price Increase

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FairPoint DSL Internet Price Increase

Postby mmoy » Tue Jun 01, 2010 6:27 pm

I received a short note that FairPoint is increasing their internet rates to $35.99. My current rate is $29.99. The note (from the April bill) reads:

High-Speed Internet Rate Change
If you are a high-speed Internet
customer, please note that the new
monthly rate for FairPoint Standard
High-Speed Internet service is $35.99,
effective with your next monthly
statement. This change will help us
continue to provide you with quality
high-speed Internet service.

I checked the automatic withdrawal for May and it was the old price. I think that I signed up for a two-year contract at the $29.99 price but I don't know when it expires. Internet service from Fairpoint has been pretty good since they came in and replaced a signal amplifier which apparently went dead. I'll call them up tomorrow morning to ask about the rate hike and what my contract status is. I'd probably rather stay with DSL at current rates so that I don't have to replace hardware and do some rewiring. I'm pretty sure that ComCast is more expensive too. I really wish that there was a cheaper phone plan but fees and taxes are more than the phone cost.
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Re: FairPoint DSL Internet Price Increase

Postby mmoy » Wed Jun 02, 2010 8:29 am

I spoke to them this morning and they have no alternate plans or contracts so I guess I'm stuck with the price increase. I will have to take a quick look at ComCast but I think that they are a lot worse.

I spoke to tech support last night and they told me that our area supports 7 mb and 15 mb speeds but the person in billing this morning says that they don't support it in my area. They are doing a rollout of higher speeds but no timeframe for Merrimack.
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Re: FairPoint DSL Internet Price Increase

Postby mmoy » Wed Jun 02, 2010 8:32 am

I could be wrong about ComCast. They do have a phone/internet plan at $39.99. Just waiting to see what the fees are like.
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Re: FairPoint DSL Internet Price Increase

Postby mmoy » Wed Jun 02, 2010 8:39 am

I tried to get details on the plan at the ComCast website but received a Microsoft ASP .NET error on the page. So I called them on the phone and the person on the phone has taken about five minutes trying to get a quote. I never realized that getting internet service is as complicated as buying an airline ticket.
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Re: FairPoint DSL Internet Price Increase

Postby andysinnh » Wed Jun 02, 2010 9:08 am

mmoy wrote:I could be wrong about ComCast. They do have a phone/internet plan at $39.99. Just waiting to see what the fees are like.

The fees are very low - well under $10 per month for our service with 2 phone lines, internet, and HDTV service. Just beware of the rate - it's likely a promotional rate that will jump by 50 percent at the end of the promotional period. I know that our "triple play" rate went up by $20 this past month since our promotional period ended. I knew this was going to happen based on my initial research, but a lot of folks "forget" that the promotional period exists....

Very happy w/Comcast overall - very fast internet and phone lines have been great - better voice quality than the old Fairpoint lines, at least according to those who listen to me during concalls...

andy
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Re: FairPoint DSL Internet Price Increase

Postby mmoy » Wed Jun 02, 2010 9:19 am

Apparently they are having technical problems because the guy on the phone couldn't provide quotes either.

I'm trying to figure out what the real rate is.

I suspect that they are almost giving away the phone stuff for free. All that we need is an incoming phone line; we don't need to make any outbound calls. ComCast has to have an advantage over FairPoint because the phone line taxes don't apply to them.

The other thing is that FairPoint tech support told me that we have 7 mb and 15 mb available and I told the rest of the family. Then FairPoint billing told me it's not available and they have no idea as to when. Given their financial shape, it could be a long time. So I will take a look at ComCast. ComCast does provide higher levels of service already. For power outages, we'd rely on our cell phones (two different providers there). I will also see if FairPoint will negotiate their price down. If they can rescind their price increase, then I might stay with them. I will try to get contract with either company that I go with.
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Re: FairPoint DSL Internet Price Increase

Postby mmoy » Wed Jun 02, 2010 10:03 am

ComCast is a pretty frustrating company to work with. I'd rate FairPoint customer service higher based on just trying to get a quote from ComCast.
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Re: FairPoint DSL Internet Price Increase

Postby pumbaa » Wed Jun 02, 2010 2:17 pm

Gee, and to think I was dissappointed that my last Fairpoint bill said my DSL rate is going from $17.99 to $20.99 per month. I guess I'm doing ok with that. Maybe I'm grandfathered into some older plan. Up until a year or so ago it was at $14.99/mo. In my experience, I prefer the phone quality of Fairpoint to Comcast's VOIP. I know many people with Comcast, and I can usually tell by the more "tinny" sound. Also, if I make a call from a phone on Comcast service, I sometimes hear my own voice echo back (very annoying).

All things considered, I'll stick with Fairpoint for the value (until they go under again). I don't know what my network connection speed is, but I don't find myself frustrated or wishing it were faster.
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Re: FairPoint DSL Internet Price Increase

Postby mmoy » Wed Jun 02, 2010 2:27 pm

My guess is that you have from 786k to 1.5m. My current service is 3.0m which is okay for my work VPN connection. Anything below that and I get dropouts during the day. I have the Google Voice service so I only need a dialtone for incoming calls. Google recently bought a company that does software phones. I'm waiting for them to open up accounts so that I can just make phone calls from the computer or iPad for free along with an incoming phone number. We currently use Skype for this purpose.

Everyone that I know is leaving Fairpoint (or left them a long time ago) for ComCast. I've been a holdout.

The deal that I'm looking at is:

$39.99 for phone and internet (internet is 4 times faster than what I have now)
$5 modem rental
$5-6 in fees and taxes

Basically the same as what I'm paying now for slow internet and basic phone service. The price is good for one-year and then goes up to $82.30 per month. At that time, I'd try to renegotiate a better price. Anything under $60 total would work, even if it didn't include phone service. We may just go with our own VOIP and our cell phones. If I didn't like ComCast's options, then I could always just switch back to FairPoint. They might have 7 mb available by then.
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Re: FairPoint DSL Internet Price Increase

Postby mmoy » Wed Jun 02, 2010 4:23 pm

I called FairPoint and told them what ComCast has. They offered to cut the price by $17.

The old price for Internet (3.0mb) + Phone was $44, new price $51, discounted price will be $34.

ComCast price for Internet (12.0 mb) + Phone (full service) is $51.

But it means that I don't have to do anything and don't have to pay the installation fee.

It kind of gives you an idea as to how much these companies can make if they can routinely discount at these levels. The regular rate for ComCast for Internet+Phone is $82 (before taxes and fees).

That $20 plan you have for FairPoint internet is for 768k.
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Re: FairPoint DSL Internet Price Increase

Postby pumbaa » Thu Jun 03, 2010 11:47 am

Interesting that Fairpoint was willing to negotiate. I may have to give that a try. Did they give you a fixed time period for that price? I tried negotiating with Comcast when I was comparing cable TV service with dish. Comcast wouldn't budge. They didn't seem to care if I walked.

I only use the internet connection for personal stuff - checking e-mail, news headlines, etc., and I don't upload anything, so speed hasn't been an issue. I suppose it could be limiting for someone who uploads hi-res photos or dowloads video files and such.
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Re: FairPoint DSL Internet Price Increase

Postby mmoy » Thu Jun 03, 2010 11:56 am

It wasn't that much of a negotiation. I spoke to the guy with the disconnection information and explained that ComCast had much more for the same price. FairPoint didn't have the service offerings so all that they could do is lower the price. I said that I would be happy if they just rescinded the latest price increase. They went further and dropped the price by about a third.

I told him that the ComCast deal was for 12 months so he gave me the FairPoint deal for 12 months. At the end of the 12 months, I will call FairPoint again to work out a deal. I am completely willing to go with ComCast as we would like more bandwidth. My wife likes to watch streaming movies. I sometimes watch streaming TV shows.

There are many that work from home where the employer picks up the tab for internet access so the actual cost of internet access may not be a limiting factor. Those that work from home need a reliable connection at good enough speeds to get their work done and service response so that they are not out of service for long periods of time. I've been with Verizon/FairPoint for over 20 years - that may have had some effect.

FairPoint needs as many customers as they can get. Landline business is shrinking (my opinion) and they need revenues and any profits that they can get to make any kind of corporate progress. I was a bit surprised that the PUC allowed such a large price increase, especially for a service that should be decreasing in operating costs.
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Re: FairPoint DSL Internet Price Increase

Postby Ann Goldman » Thu Jun 03, 2010 5:45 pm

I got Comcast for myself and my mother once she moved to Merrimack. I would have to say that the phone service is very unreliable. I have had 3 major phone outages in a three month period. I had no outages in 33 years with Verizon and that included 2 major floods. My mother's phone service is flaky too. She has times where she can receive calls but not call out. Not too good if you are 85 and going blind. Also for a while she could call anyone but a comcast customer. Then it was a problem calling me and vice versa. I had to call her with my cell phone in order to get through.

That being said you do get a lot of features for the money. Unlimited long distance and voice mail etc for the one price. There are hidden prices too. My mother gets charged an extra $5 plus tax for the phone modem while we don't.
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Re: FairPoint DSL Internet Price Increase

Postby mmoy » Thu Jun 03, 2010 6:01 pm

Google Voice has changed the phone game. They give you a phone number and a service. The service provide voicemail, both audio and transcribed, and gives you some amount of programmed control over the people that call you. When your Google Voice number is dialed, it can simultaneously ring your office, home and mobile phone and connect the caller to which ever one picks up. It also gives you unlimited long-distance calling on your home or office phone. And it can grab your mobile phone voice mail. With Google Voice, all you need is a dialtone. They are supposed to add a soft-phone one of these days so that you can place calls and hopefully receive them on your computer. Similar to Skype but it will probably be free.
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Re: FairPoint DSL Internet Price Increase

Postby andysinnh » Fri Jun 04, 2010 6:08 am

Couple of comments on bandwidth. First, if you have a household with multiple internet users (5 in our house), the extra bandwidth is critical. Yes, I work from home and get a portion of my internet reimbursed (HP cut way back on reimbursement, if they do it at all depending on the state) - but even if I didn't, going with something that was lower bandwidth just wouldn't work. Sort of like a secured hot-spot, so to speak.

Second - there are a lot of folks I work with that telecommute and have chosen various internet-based VoIP options - and the quality of that service is very hit-or-miss. If your bandwidth is low and you're doing work on your PC, the shared internet of that work along with the phone can have what we call the "stuttering" talk behavior - where you get voice cut in and out when someone is talking. I'd imagine for casual conversations it'd be OK, but if you are using the internet for anything important while you're trying to have a phone conversation, you'll have issues. And in my case, where I record webinars regularly, I can't afford the issues of the shared IP stuttering situation. I was concerned about Comcast's service given it's VoIP based, but they actually use their network as the connection medium and don't use it via the internet itself, so you don't have that same behavior - it's worked quite well for the 18 months I've had it.

andy
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