Want fiber Internet? That’ll be $383,500, ISP tells farm owner…

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Internet service providers often charge thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars to extend their networks to people outside their service areas.

But it turns out construction costs passed on to customers can be much, much higher. When the operator of a family farm in Nebraska requested fiber service from the local DSL Internet and phone service company, he found out that he’d have to pay an incredible $383,500 to subsidize the ISP’s construction.

That’s the price estimate Windstream Communications provided to the Norman R. Schneider Family Trust Farm in Ceresco, Nebraska, after CTO Nelson Schneider contacted the company about getting fiber service to replace his DSL.

Fortunately, it looks like Schneider will get fiber service for a fraction of that price from a second network provider called Northeast Nebraska Telephone Company (NNTC). Even though the Schneider farm is completely outside NNTC’s service area, even for copper, NNTC told him it would build the fiber line for a more reasonable $41,915.88.

While nearly $42,000 is still a lot, Schneider noted that “it is a one-time investment that will enhance my quality of life and property value significantly.”

What isn’t clear is why Windstream would charge nine times as much as NNTC. Ars contacted Windstream, which confirmed the $383,500 price, saying “the total quoted was for 36 months of dedicated Internet service.”

We also asked Windstream how it calculated the estimate but did not…

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