Mid-Rivers Math?
Posted by BigSkyGuy (+59) 3 months ago
So.. with the annual meeting of course being during the day where normal people can’t go, I’m hoping one of you can maybe help me figure out Mid-Rivers math while you’re there?
I have been hit with that Wide Open internet scam that MR has decided to roll out to those of us in the big towns. And, as expected, my bill went up. Now obviously this is what MR is banking on. Those people that watch Netflix or youtube, or have cut the cord on their cable and use CBS or Hulu. The reason would be, that unless you change your settings in these, it’ll run you up to 7 Gigs an hour. Especially when it reads that speed setting from the Wide Open. In essence, MR is making you pay $1.40 per hour of Netflix. God forbid if you decide to binge watch a season of something. Now granted, you can go in and change your settings, but how many people really know you can do that? That’s also just one device. How many of you have Netflix on your phones, tablets, or game consoles? That’s gonna add up for a family for sure. And for those of you that are on autobill? That’s gonna be a nice first bill, or a few of them before you notice how much more you’re spending.
Now here’s what the other companies are doing, all of which are within our area.

RTC – Reservation Telephone Cooperative
100Mx100M UNLIMITED DATA $55/month
Midco -- Midcontinent Communications
75Mx5M UNLIMITED DATA $56/month
25Mx3M UNLIMITED DATA $42/month
Nemont
10/10 UNLIMITED DATA $71/month

So here you have two other co-ops, providing UNLIMITED DATA, at speeds faster than Mid-Rivers ever offered before the Wide Open, and one company that has multiple packages doing the same thing. UNLIMITED DATA, Lower price.
Take Mid-Rivers normal lowest plan, 8Mx1M at 300G. That was around $45/month. If you use Mid-Rivers new math, you’ll end up paying $79.95 for the exact same amount of data you were using. But wait, you’re only getting 8M? Despite what you’re told, you can run two computers, three cell phones, and Netflix at the same time with 8M and still not notice any lag. So the normal family can do just fine with the old plan and pay less than they are now.
Now I’ll give you the fact that you can download a huge file way faster now than you ever could before. However, that works until you and your entire neighborhood start doing the same thing. You’re all on the same pipe, the more you shove through, the less each of you get. Mid-Rivers may keep expanding the pipe if they want, but still comes down to reality. Now, if you complain of a speed, they will come check it, no problem. However, they will only come check it during the day. Well of course, that’s when the least amount of people are using it.
So if someone could maybe have Mid-Rivers explain how their “Revolutionary style of internet” makes sense, that would be awesome.
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Posted by Hannah Nash (+2308) 3 months ago
Your assessment is accurate, BigSkyGuy.

Technology pricing traditionally equals-- what are people really willing to pay for our services?

Remember early texting? Small little packets of data that rode freely and didn't cost cellphone carriers anything-- but cellphone companies charged a premium for texting. Then there were packages; now, texting is free.

Cellphone data? We've gone back and forth on unlimited vs charging for consumption.

I'm assuming Mid-Rivers will be using the same model-- charging for unlimited vs consumption. And we will go back and forth on this. If it's any consolation, even businesses, libraries, etc are being hit with the same data caps/charges.

My personal Internet bill went up $50 this past month. And to be honest, I have not experienced the "blazing speeds" promised, nor an increase in my enjoyment of digital media loading/downloading, and everything is still cranking along just as it was before. The only change? I'm paying more.
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Posted by Mid-Rivers (+29) 3 months ago
Thanks for your comments BigSkyGuy! Sorry you can't attend the Annual Meeting tomorrow, but we are here to listen to your concerns at any time, either at the local business office in Miles City or any of our other locations.

The goal of Wide Open Internet is to provide the best Internet experience to every customer by removing the arbitrary speed limits that these other companies have all placed on their Internet service. We've installed a state-of-the-art network and we want everyone to be able to take full advantage of it. Before Wide Open, the vast majority of customers were subscribing to the slowest (cheapest) speed available, and then having experience problems as they began to add devices and increase their streaming usage. Now everyone gets the fastest connection possible, and we all pay based on what we individually use. Our average user is still at about 100GB per month, so the average user is still paying $5 LESS for super-fast Wide Open than they paid on our old 8M speed. As more people start streaming, and average usage goes up, we plan to adjust that per GB data rate downward to keep access affordable. This is a much fairer way to price and provide Internet than the "first and second class" tiered offerings of traditional providers.

As far as the speeds of the network, we are continually monitoring capacity and upgrading equipment as necessary to maintain a quality experience at all times of the day. If you are experiencing slowdowns at any time, we'd like to take a look at your connection and your Wi-Fi equipment as we can probably do things to improve the speeds in your home or business.

One more thing - if you are concerned about your data usage levels, make sure you're using our free SmartHub tool to view and monitor your hourly, daily and monthly usage levels, and check out our tips for managing your data usage through streaming settings at http://www.midrivers.com/...-data.html. You can even contact our Technical Assistance Center at tac@midrivers.coop to get set up with access to "NOC360," a free tool that can show you WHERE most of your usage is attributed to (Netflix, YouTube, XBOX, etc.). Wide Open is a new way to Internet - if you have concerns or questions about it, please call us or stop in the office!
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Posted by BigSkyGuy (+59) 3 months ago
Thank you Mid-Rivers for responding. I have some questions based on your response if you don't mind.

1) "Users were subscribing to lowest possible package"
That was in essence their choice, and you had packages up to 50M if I remember right that corrected all these problems. Wide Open is just overkill to that.

2) "Our Average user is 100GG per month"
That is fantastic. However, for THEM this is a great plan. They cost you less, so you charge them less. For those of us that utilize the caps you put on (which by the way we were given no choice on) you're punishing us. Arguments from the big ISP's are saying it's like electricity. Use more pay more. That's great, but even the $0.20/GB price you charge the consumer is a markup of what it actually costs you. ISP's don't pay for each GB that's used, they pay for a pipe of total bandwidth. As long as your users don't go above that, the cost of how much each user does is negligible. So unless all your high users actually do all the traffic AT ONCE, you really aren't affected.

3) "We plan to adjust the per GB downward"
I cannot think in the history of electric/phone/internet where someone paying per unit has payed less because people used less. The only time that happens is when a total market changes, such as Oil or Gas or Coal. Because the data market doesn't have huge fluctuations, ISP's are not going to drop prices. In fact, when the deal for Charter to buy Time Warner passed the FCC, they had to agree to no customer data caps or usage-based pricing instituted for up to seven years. Which is exactly what you FORCED on your users TWICE.

There is also the fact that internet service in the big 5 towns is severly limited with Centurylink being a joke, and Verizon charging way too much for it's service. So knowing you have a technical monopoly gives you the edge on anything. Are the small towns also being forced onto this per GB, or are they free of getting charged more for their normal 250-300GB usage on your service? Those of us with the cabability should not be forced to use it unless we choose to lower our bills.
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Posted by MCMTLG (+36) 3 months ago
Centurylink offers 20mbps in Miles City now, which is enough for most things.

That comes with 600 gig of data. Something that would cost you $140 month on Midrivers' new mandatory Wide Open Wallet plan. Currently at less than $50/month for a year.

Midrivers essentially is forcing people to stream by dropping bedrock cable stations like AMC and Comedy Central, and then making it up by gouging you on data.
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Posted by MCMTLG (+36) 3 months ago
Reply to BigSkyGuy (#372229)
BigSkyGuy wrote:
3) "We plan to adjust the per GB downward"
I cannot think in the history of electric/phone/internet where someone paying per unit has payed less because people used less. The only time that happens is when a total market changes, such as Oil or Gas or Coal. Because the data market doesn't have huge fluctuations, ISP's are not going to drop prices. In fact, when the deal for Charter to buy Time Warner passed the FCC, they had to agree to no customer data caps or usage-based pricing instituted for up to seven years. Which is exactly what you FORCED on your users TWICE.

There is also the fact that internet service in the big 5 towns is severly limited with Centurylink being a joke, and Verizon charging way too much for it's service. So knowing you have a technical monopoly gives you the edge on anything. Are the small towns also being forced onto this per GB, or are they free of getting charged more for their normal 250-300GB usage on your service? Those of us with the cabability should not be forced to use it unless we choose to lower our bills.


The most frustrating part of the whole thing is that back when Midrivers came into internet markets with existing options (like Miles City, Glendive, Sidney, Lewistown, etc) they essentially drove the competing cable service out of business. Which in the rest of the region (outside Midrivers' area) ended up , after a couple mergers, becoming Charter Spectrum. This is the basic reason why cities with similar populations outside Midrivers' service area (like Livingston or Havre) have access to sub-$50 40+ mbps plans without data caps (let alone flat-rated metering)
It appears as though Midrivers is subsidizing its most rural base, short on telecom options, by coming into the region's cities and dragging them back to the internet and cable dark ages in order to make feasible rural network upgrades it could otherwise never justify.
And that's sad to me because I like Midrivers' service, and its people, and I'd prefer to shop as locally as possible. But the whole region relying on this backwoods scheme for most of its telecommunications is doing material harm to the cities within that would otherwise have much better options. And for that reason, I'd advise subscribing to Centurylink if at all possible. If only to ensure that there remains some option around here to resist this ill-advised, regressive cash grab.
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Posted by Josh Rath (+2293) 3 months ago
Here in Baker, I currently subscribe to the "Hometown Bundle" through Mid-Rivers. That provides a home telephone (Not hooked up, cause I do not care for it) and their 50MBPS Down and 20MBPS up connection with 600GB of data for just $100.20 a month. Taxes included. And if you rewind years back, I have been a major critic of Mid-Rivers and their service... However these days the company has done a fine job ensuring the connection is stable and I rarely receive anything lower than 45down and 15up. If it goes lower, 9 out of 10 times it is a router issue (Not a fan of this forced router situation, but whatever) and it is back to normal. Wide Open Internet is coming here July 1 from what I understand, however I will not subscribe to it. Why?

At my usage a month, which regularly hits 600GB or close to it...

I would go from $100.20 a month to nearly $140 a month. Yes, I would gain access to download speeds 4 times that of what i have and upload 5 times of what I have... But I am able to 24/7 stream my home security camera at 1080P. Stream non-stop, no buffer EVER 4K (Even 8K) video. And have all my IOT devices connected without issue. (Ignoring the fact the FORCED OWNERSHIP of their router causes the occasional issue from device overload).

It's a great package that I have now. I just wish the options were a bit more wallet friendly.
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Posted by MCMTLG (+36) 3 months ago
Reply to Josh Rath (#372234)
Josh Rath wrote:
Here in Baker, I currently subscribe to the "Hometown Bundle" through Mid-Rivers. That provides a home telephone (Not hooked up, cause I do not care for it) and their 50MBPS Down and 20MBPS up connection with 600GB of data for just $100.20 a month. Taxes included. And if you rewind years back, I have been a major critic of Mid-Rivers and their service... However these days the company has done a fine job ensuring the connection is stable and I rarely receive anything lower than 45down and 15up. If it goes lower, 9 out of 10 times it is a router issue (Not a fan of this forced router situation, but whatever) and it is back to normal. Wide Open Internet is coming here July 1 from what I understand, however I will not subscribe to it. Why?

At my usage a month, which regularly hits 600GB or close to it...

I would go from $100.20 a month to nearly $140 a month. Yes, I would gain access to download speeds 4 times that of what i have and upload 5 times of what I have... But I am able to 24/7 stream my home security camera at 1080P. Stream non-stop, no buffer EVER 4K (Even 8K) video. And have all my IOT devices connected without issue. (Ignoring the fact the FORCED OWNERSHIP of their router causes the occasional issue from device overload).

It's a great package that I have now. I just wish the options were a bit more wallet friendly.


You're on a plan similar to what used to be available in Miles City. Midrivers took those options away in certain (big) markets. Those options were taken away even from existing subscribers on existing plans.

There are no tiers here anymore. Everyone has the same speed and the same heavily marked up metered data rate.

$140 would only buy you 600gb of data here, ($20 line fee plus .20 per gb used) with no cable TV or phone service included.

[Edited by MCMTLG (6/1/2017 10:30:22 AM)]
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Posted by BigSkyGuy (+59) 3 months ago
Well, you kind of hit the nail with that one Josh. You will be "offered" the Wide Open internet shortly I'm sure. Just like we in the cable modem towns were. However, once not enough people switch to it, or it's been some pre-determined amount of time, you'll be forced onto it like the rest of us. Then you can enjoy the larger bills. Just like your forced router unfortunately.

The problem being that they love comparing this to electricity or water. The more you use, the more you pay. Which is true for those utility companies. However, internet is different. Googling how ISP's pay for their bandwidth, it's not the use more pay more scenario. ISP's pay for so big a pipe. As long as the total amount of data doesn't exceed that pipe, they are fine. So in essence they have a fixed cost, but they are changing our fixed cost to a metered cost. And like was mentioned before, the more cable they cut, the more people will stream.

They like to use the word Revolutionary. It's not revolutionary really, it's something the larger companies have tried and gotten backlash for. When Comcast upped the speeds to the GIG, they also upped the cap to 1TB. That's 1000GB. Or more accurately, more than 3x that of what midrivers was offering for much lesser speeds. And the line "we were tired of users not having enough speed" is inaccurate. Users have always been able to get more than enough speeds, they just didn't want to pay the crazy price on it.

You yourself have a 600GB cap. Only because of your speed. The higher the speed, the more they raised the cap. Now they have "unlimited speed", but you end up opening your wallet on the data. Why? Because they know, more speed means more usage.

The joy that Mid-Rivers has, as well as many ISP's, is the fact that as consumers we need internet for even normal daily life at times. And with the little amount of competition there is, they know that the customers will suck it up and pay. The General Manager Candelaria knows exactly what he's doing. And you really should ask yourself who's interest they are really after.
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Posted by Bridgier (+7507) 3 months ago
Thank God we've got someone who's willing to stand up for the little guy against predatory monopolies in charge of the FCC.
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Posted by snickers (+792) 3 months ago
I was a little dismayed that Midrivers broke their contact with me that I had for about 6 years of pretty much unlimited internet by forcing me to go with the wide open. I may only use about 20 a month which was cheaper but I went with another internet provider because I want to be able to budget every month. Not a Happy Camper with Midrivers. The new Wide open was just a tad bit faster then my old slow internet
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Posted by BigSkyGuy (+59) 3 months ago
Did anyone make it to the Annual Meeting to here any more of why this "Revolutionary" mumbo jumbo is so great compared to the deals we had before?
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Posted by BigSkyGuy (+59) 3 months ago
When those of you that aren't on wide open get put on it, come back and let us know how much your bill went up afterwards.
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Posted by David Schott (+10680) 3 months ago
For what it's worth, here in Redmond, WA, I get my telecom. service from Frontier Communications. I get 25 Mbps down, 5 Mbps up, with no data limits and no throttling (that I am aware of); voice over IP telephone with caller ID, call waiting, voicemail, and free domestic long distance; and cable TV with one DVR, one regular set-top box, and hundreds of channels (SD and HD) but no premium (i.e. movie) channels for $191/month.

Frontier can hardly go a month without increasing a fee or adding some fee on my bill. My last bill told me they were going to start charging a $6 monthly "regional sports package" fee that after taxes will probably be more like $8/month.

I have the option of getting a similar package from Comcast (so there is a little competition) and both companies try to entice new customers with low-priced "triple play" bundles. If I switched to Comcast I could probably get my bill close to $150/month for a year or two. I grow weary of playing games with the telecom companies.

Consolidation within the media and distribution companies has not been kind to consumers.
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Posted by BigSkyGuy (+59) 3 months ago
Found this today. Maybe Centurylink is a good alternative.

CenturyLink® HSI Plan
Allowed data usage per month
(download and upload)
7.0 Mbps and lower 300 GB
More than 7.0 Mbps 600 GB
1 Gig No limit


So, as the speed goes up, so does the cap. Sound opposite of someone we all know?
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Posted by spacekace (+892) 3 months ago
This post was removed 3 months ago.
It was removed because it was a duplicate.
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Posted by spacekace (+892) 3 months ago
At least you get high speed internet as an option..... Midrivers has my area on the schedule to get the fiber optic cable to my house.....in 2028. Hopefully Netflix is still around....because with the satellite internet option they give me, streaming anything is completely out of the question.
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Posted by MCMTLG (+36) 3 months ago
Reply to BigSkyGuy (#372343)
BigSkyGuy wrote:
Found this today. Maybe Centurylink is a good alternative.

CenturyLink® HSI Plan
Allowed data usage per month
(download and upload)
7.0 Mbps and lower 300 GB
More than 7.0 Mbps 600 GB
1 Gig No limit


So, as the speed goes up, so does the cap. Sound opposite of someone we all know?


You can have their 20 meg service and DirecTV Now with most the channels Midrivers axed all for less than $100 per month.

Midrivers saved themselves a couple bucks a month at most by cutting AMC, Nick, Comedy Central, etc. Then they charge you around a dollar an hour as you stream the shows they cut.

It's all win from Midrivers' point of view. Anyone with a choice should be looking elsewhere.
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Posted by MCMTLG (+36) 18 days ago
Just downloading a new game clocking in at just under 40gb. It just occurred to me that Midrivers would charge nearly $8 just to download it. Then the update downloads would likely add at least that amount again over the life of the product.

When it's all said and done Midrivers may make more money on a new digital game than the developer does.

Absolutely crazy when you think about it.
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Posted by Its Me (+179) 18 days ago
I feel your pain. Because of hard drive crashes and re-downloading everything, games included, Watching all my TV, Movie, and Video Content and adding a second backup computer, I am at 338 gig this month. Reset is the night of the 16th. To say the least I am not happy with Midrivers right now.

I am going to change to century link I do believe.
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Posted by BigSkyGuy (+59) 17 days ago
Reply to MCMTLG (#373043)
MCMTLG wrote:
Just downloading a new game clocking in at just under 40gb. It just occurred to me that Midrivers would charge nearly $8 just to download it. Then the update downloads would likely add at least that amount again over the life of the product.

When it's all said and done Midrivers may make more money on a new digital game than the developer does.

Absolutely crazy when you think about it.


This as you know is Mid-Rivers developing plan. Most of the world knows that everything is moving to VOD or streaming, etc. To prove my point, try getting just cable from Mid-Rivers. They themselves know that normal TV is being dropped in favor of online services for cheaper (Hulu/Netflix/HBO/etc). So, what better way to make sure to cash in on that than charge per GB?

Take this quote for example from the GM
Bandwidth is not cheap in Eastern Montana. We have to transport over long distances to reach a Denver or Minneapolis where core routers live. We have to build robust fiber networks to handle the traffic and build in resiliency to offset the numerous fiber cuts and power outages we encounter at the end of the world.

Unfortunately, this is quite a weak argument. There are MULTIPLE other ISP's, even operating in Eastern Montana, that give you unlimited data, 50M up/down or more, and good customer service. The poor me really doesn't fly with people that know how the internet works. Then again, there's a reason they only hold Annual meetings during the day when normal people work...

Another gem from the GM
Consumers in our CLEC do have choices, CLINK is the incumbent local carrier, Mid-Rivers is the competitor and you got it wrong on your blog; 80% of our subscribers voluntarily opted to take our Wide Open internet. We don’t force anyone to take our service, as I said, we are the competitor.

Another partially true statement. CLINK USED to be the incumbent local carrier. They, in almost all the cities, focus on the mainstream downtown people and businesses. They aren't trying to build out. If you have copper, great, we can give you 1.5M. Otherwise, SOL. As for the not forcing, that is partially true. They don't FORCE you persay, but if you have modem trouble and need a new modem, BAM, you're on wide open.

We don’t force people to stream massive amounts of data and while Netflix makes billions they don’t offer to share any of their revenue to access our networks. At the end of the day, revenues have to meet expenses.

Again, technically a true statement. They aren't forcing you to do it, but we're just going to go ahead and drop A&E with the Walking Dead, arguably one of the most popular shows on television KNOWING the only choice is to stream it, at $.20/Gig.

So yes, there are many that will start to feel your same pain as Mid-Rivers slowly drops cable channels and increases the price per GB.

You have to ask yourself though: If Comcast, the country's most hated ISP, is offering a Terabyte of data, as well as an option to pay for unlimited, why can't Mid-Rivers, who claims to have the customer's interest at heart, offer something similar?
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Posted by MCMTLG (+36) 16 days ago
Metering in general is kind of annoying, but maybe they think its the best thing for their bandwidth costs. But .20 per gigabyte is a crazy level of price gouging no matter how you slice it.

I also find it annoying they try to pass off Centurylink as the legacy provider. No, that provider was Bresnan, which eventually became Charter. Midrivers came into town and bought them out supposedly in the name of offering more competitive service. But over the long term they've instead offered service that isn't remotely competitve, especially from a cost perspective.

Again, you only need to look at Livingston or Havre to see what happened in similar sized towns Midrivers didn't monopolize for cable internet. They have access to affordable unmetered plans that cost a small fraction of what Midrivers costs for people who use modern amounts of data.
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Posted by Rob Reukauf (+80) 15 days ago
Perhaps you should subscribe to Wild Blue internet. You bemoan the fact that .20 per gig is price gouging-on Wild Blue, the overage charge is $10.00 per gig over the 10 gig monthly allowance. I saw someone in this post saying he had used 338 gigs in a month-try getting by with 10!
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Posted by MCMTLG (+36) 15 days ago
Reply to Rob Reukauf (#373075)
Rob Reukauf wrote:
Perhaps you should subscribe to Wild Blue internet. You bemoan the fact that .20 per gig is price gouging-on Wild Blue, the overage charge is $10.00 per gig over the 10 gig monthly allowance. I saw someone in this post saying he had used 338 gigs in a month-try getting by with 10!


Yeah, that's tough to live with. But satellite internet is an entirely different animal, and has nothing to do with why Midrivers is gouging its city-dwelling customers, who should otherwise have better options, so badly.
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Posted by BigSkyGuy (+59) 2 days ago
Reply to Rob Reukauf (#373075)
Rob Reukauf wrote:
Perhaps you should subscribe to Wild Blue internet. You bemoan the fact that .20 per gig is price gouging-on Wild Blue, the overage charge is $10.00 per gig over the 10 gig monthly allowance. I saw someone in this post saying he had used 338 gigs in a month-try getting by with 10!


This argument really isn't valid for so many reasons.

1) Wild Blue is a last ditch internet option. It's also a third party internet that Midrivers is licensed to use. Which means Midrivers doesn't make much money on it. That is the complete opposite of gouging the users on the equipment that Midrivers owns and operates. Not even a logical argument.

2) Name any company even remotely in this area that tries to fool customers into thinking a deal like this is a good thing.

And 3) As a board member, you both approved this change that directly deceives the customers, and with the perks, the last thing you ever have to worry about is the cost of anything.

If you have some valid arguments, we'd love to hear them.
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Posted by MCMTLG (+36) 22 hours ago
That's sad. I didnt realize this was someone ostensibly representing Midrivers telling us we were lucky Midrivers city cable wasnt priced like last ditch super-rural satellite internet. Pretty disheartening to hear that much industry disconnect from inside the coop bubble.

No, Miles City, Glendive, Lewistown, Sidney, etc deserve the same kind of pricing seen in Livingston or Anaconda or Havre or Laurel, Dillon, Belgrade, Whitefish, Dickenson, ND, Rawlins, WY, or virtually any city of comparative size outside of Midrivers' stranglehold.

Honestly, in service to its membership, Midrivers should either attempt to offer a product that's at least halfway competitive or enter into negotiations to sell these cities' networks back to a cable carrier that can deliver a modern level of service.

Or at the very least bring back the plans that existed before this recent "Wide Open Wallet" cash grab.

[Edited by MCMTLG (9/23/2017 11:48:33 AM)]
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