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I Hate Linux

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Midcontinent: We don't like to admit to legal price fixing

Suspecting that my attempts to get DISH were not going to be successful, I was looking around for other alternatives yesterday.

DirecTV is always another satellite option, and for cable my two choices are Midcontinent Communications, and Prairiewave Communications (yes, we actually have something resembling cable competition here in Madison).

As a nationally available service, DirectTV as expected has all prices on their website, making it easy to sit back and examine their offerings and costs.

Prairiewave tells lots about what they offer, but less so on prices, and just gives prices on their packages based on where one lives. Still quite useful, especially considering that if I went with Prairiewave for TV service, I'd also have to switch to them for my cable internet as well (from Midcontinent).

Midcontinent on the other hand, gives no such pricing information on their web page, and a couple of e-mails later I was told:

The reason that we do not list our prices on the website is that we have some very small communities that do not have all of the services as some of the larger communities do. This gives us so many varying prices and services offered that the information would be so extensive (as to cover all of our areas) that it would take an awful large amount of web space and would be very confusing.

I'm glad I wasn't speaking to someone who told me that... otherwise they would have heard me fall over laughing and not stop for a good long time at such an amazing excuse.

I imagine that somewhere, within Midcontinent there exists a server or two, maybe even a cluster or mainframe... that has all of the tidbits of prices, locations and services all within it... and that this... database is somehow accessed by customer service and sales people whenever you call up and say "Hello, I'd like to get cable" and they ask "Sure, where do you live?" There must be some way of filtering such data into a usable way for customers... heck, they must already do that and print listings based on location as they did offer to mail me such a price list.

Why would Midcontinent not want to give their prices out? My guess: They don't want their customers knowing that they are engaged in legal price fixing based on geography. That's right, in most places, it's legal for some companies such as the cable company to give one price in one area and yet another price in another. Perhaps they area afraid of people calling in to see why they can't get price X when they live in Y, but then that's not my problem.

Oh well... me thinks that Midcontinent is out of the running, now it's down to Prariewave and DirectTV... or I could always do what many did back in the college dorm room... have two rooms pitch in for cable in one room... and run a line into the other one... course that's not as easy when you don't have someone next door.


  • I was looking for Midcontinent prices for Broadband, but of course, Couldn't find a damn thing. All i know is that I have 256kbps Download and about 64kbps Upload or something, and its $20 per month.
    But then I look on Mitchell Telecoms website and they have 10Mbps Download and 512Kbps Upload for $35.
    Maybe Midcontinent isnt listing their prices because they know that once people see that they can get multiple times more speed for $15 more, they will realize this and move on.

    By Anonymous Lane, at 6:14 PM  

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