Friday, March 18, 2011

New Fairpoint broadband pricing: some research

Some Ripton residents recently received a mailing advertising Fairpoint’s new internet service plans.

What do these new plans offer, and how much do they cost? One Ripton resident did some research via phone, email, Web, and print. This took some time and effort, since there wasn't a single Web page or printed document with the information.

Here’s what was learned about the real costs.

The short version: Fairpoint’s low-cost pricing ( $16/month first year discount good through April 30th) is a lure, a short-term deal to lock us into more expensive plans.

This plays out through different packages:

  • The “Double Play Bundle” - phone & internet, no voicemail ("Fairpoint Exchange Select package"), For a 1-year contract, the costs are: $60.99 plus taxes/surcharges (ave. $10) = $70.99/month. If you maintain that service for a second year, the cost rises again, to $76.99 + taxes/surcharges, or $86.99/month.
  • "Double Play” plus voicemail? Monthly charges go up to $65.99 plus taxes/surcharges (taxes average $10), or $75.99, for that first year. Second year: $81.99 + taxes/surcharges (ave. $10) = $91.99 per month.
  • The cheapest plan simply adds internet to your existing phone plan. The internet fee is $19.99 per month, plus whatever your phone bill is. That’s for the first year. After that, the internet fee goes up to $35.99, plus your phone bill.
  • Internet only, without any phone service? No annual contracts, just month to month billing, at $40.99.
  • A "TriplePlay Bundle": "TriplePlay Bundle" : without voicemail: $77.99 per month (plus taxes and surcharges) for the first 12 months, then $124.99/month (plus taxes and surchrges). If you want voicemail, the price increases by $5/month to $82.99 and $129.99 respectively.

These prices might not apply next year, as there is no guarantee the price won't go up after the first 12 months.

There are three additional charges which can apply across all of these plans. For example,

  • Inside wire guard: add $3.99/month
  • Wireless router: $59.99 (or you can buy your own)
  • Early termination of contract: $79

Moreover, if you switch to one of these plans, the billing cycle changes. Instead of being billed for the previous month, you're billed for the next month, so the first bill will be especially high.

Any thoughts? more information?
(some edits for clarity)

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