Some upset with rural internet pricing - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Some upset with rural internet pricing

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BUCHANAN COUNTY (KWWL) -

Some rural Buchanan County residents are upset with rising internet costs, and calling for change. Monday, they got it.

Little Quentin and Destin Berns loved watching videos of trucks, until their family's internet costs spiked.

"Kind of put the brakes on the kids watching YouTube videos with garbage trucks and Mickey Mouse Club," said Kevin Berns.

In December, the East Buchanan Telephone Coop moved to a tiered billing system, meaning higher internet usage costs more. The Berns' bill went from $95 a month, to $175.

"For a lot of people it is working well," Butch Rorabaugh, General Manager of the coop, said. "But we do have these larger users that are ... We've been brainstorming what we can do for them."

Rorabaugh said they first had to hike rates because of lost federal subsidies, in addition to the high cost of providing rural service.

Mrs. Berns takes classes online, which the family said couldn't afford on the tiered plan.

"That's six more hours a week that she's going to have to sit in Marshalltown than be home with our kids," Berns said.

An online petition got over 500 signatures asking for change, and Monday, coop officials decided they would start offering unlimited plans again.

"It's a more common practice, but that doesn't mean it's a more profitable practice," Rorabaugh said prior to the decision.

He said they'll have to find the money somewhere though, calling it the cost of doing business.

Rorabaugh added they will have several unlimited plans now based on speed. The coop will continue to offer the tiered system for low-usage customers.

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