Inflation rates not expected to influence broadband prices
GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - Consumers are noticing drastic price differences as inflation continues.
Internet prices saw some of the most troubling increases in the past two years because digital access became more of a necessity than ever before.
People learned how important wireless internet is to their daily lives, especially if they needed to work or learn from home during pandemic-induced isolations.
Prices for things like gas and groceries have skyrocketed, but as internet prices have risen over the past two years, for now, they are expected to stay relatively the same.
“We have been able to keep everything the same. We don’t have any planned increases for our broadband products,” InfinityLink CEO Jeremy Rich said.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average household’s income in Eastern North Carolina is about $50,000 per year.
Internet providers say their price point is around 2% of that average income.
“It’s very important to us to maintain that $59 price range so that people can afford internet,” Eastern Carolina Broadband CEO Susan Myers said.
But access to high-speed internet can be difficult for many living in rural areas.
“When we started, 60% of school children in our area didn’t have access to high-speed internet,” Myers said. “90% of the farmers didn’t. That also means, not only are kids falling behind, but once they grow up, they’re going to move away.”
“We want to be a great resource for the community, we want people to move here. Without the high-speed internet, they’re not going to stay here,” Rich added.
Internet service providers have built small internet towers in areas formerly used for other things to help expand access to people.
One tower was built in the middle of a cow pasture as a way to utilize the space.
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