Homeowners fed up with paying $600 a month for internet

PITTSBORO, N.C. (WTVD) -- Imagine paying $500 to $600 a month just for high-speed internet. That's the reality for residents who live along Frosty Meadow Drive in Chatham County.

The street is filled with homes, not businesses, yet the only fiber optic internet these homeowners who live on Frosty Meadow Drive have is business fiber.

"It's a car payment every month, it's $600 a month," says homeowner Daniel Harnden who pays that much monthly for business fiber with AT&T. "Offered business, which we took because it was better than nothing. My hope was by the time the contract would be up, there would be residential fiber."

Three years later, no residential fiber is offered to the homeowners on his street, but to neighborhoods surrounding his street, he says AT&T residential fiber is offered and starts at just $60 a month.

Harnden isn't the only one on his street paying big bucks for business fiber. He said there are at least five other homeowners including Lani Phillips who said she was forced to sign up for business fiber when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

"We are paying $536 a month for the service so he can keep working from home," Phillips said.

Not all homeowners on Frosty Meadow Drive can afford AT&T business fiber, so their option is DSL.

"I've been paying for this horrible internet for 20 years. I have a home-school child; sometimes it takes three hours for her to send something," said Tracy Magliocco.

Even more frustrating for Magliocco, AT&T does offer residential fiber to the home right next to her.

"They have it literally on the other side of my driveway at the neighborhood next door, they have it across the street. They have the fiber, the residential fiber at the end of the road but they won't put it down our road because everybody is locked into a very expensive $500-$600 payment," she said.

In a statement, AT&T said: "We continually invest in and expand our network, including our fiber footprint in communities like Pittsboro. Our investment decisions are based on network capacity, demand for services, and budget. At this time, our internet options at Frosty Meadow Drive include AT&T Business Fiber."

"AT&T Fiber and AT&T Business Fiber are two separate products that operate on different equipment. One service cannot be switched over to the other without a build-out of the equipment. The number of business fiber customers in an area does not impact our decision to expand our fiber footprint for residents," a representative added.

For the homeowners where business is the only fiber that AT&T is offering, they said they believe it all comes down to money.

"They're happy to take our money each month, and they're not motivated to do anything about it," Magliocco said.

This neighborhood is not alone, Troubleshooter Diane Wilson continues to hear from many residents in Chatham County and other areas once considered rural communities that are booming in growth. They are all waiting for faster internet, but it will take time.
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