People say Cox and Century Link are their only two real options for internet in Omaha
OMAHA,Neb(FOX42KPTM)-If you ask most people in Omaha where they get their internet, you will hear one of two answers: Cox and Century Link.
"That's the only option that we have because in this area, it's Century Link or it's Cox Communications and Cox is a little bit better than Century Link but their prices are ridiculous," Arturo Mejia said. He needs to be constantly connected to the internet for work and his children enjoy watching cartoons.
"My kids love playing with their devices," he said. "We need internet for almost everything."
They currently have Cox for internet service.
"Just for the internet service, we're paying $70 dollars and we don't even have the higher, we just have the intermediate speed."
However, they were also customers of Century Link in years ago.
"The service was terrible, every time we would be watching a TV show, it starts streaming like a circle for about 10 seconds."
The Mejia family says between the quality of Century Link and Cox's prices, they tell FOX 42 they're stuck between the choices.
"We're looking for something affordable and good."
They say they can't find both in one provider in Omaha.
Anne Kane is also a Cox customer. She works from home.
"I don't know that there are other options besides Century Link and Cox in Omaha," Kane said. "From a population and growth, you would think Omaha is higher on the list for giving more options."
FOX 42 asked a Cox representative why it seems like their company and Century are the two service providers in the Omaha. They blamed it on the lack of wiring and servers in the area, FOX 42 asked Century Link the same question, it said it did not have a definite answer.
"I don't know if the cost for them to maintain the lines and the installation process and all that is cost prohibitive for other companies to come into the market," Kane said.
FOX 42 Reporter, Winnie Dortch, wanted to know if cities similar to Omaha's size have similar internet service and costs. She researched and called the most popular ISP's in those states and at looked at their base prices for internet.
In Springfield Missouri the average rate for internet is $34.60
Charleston, West Virginia-$42.68
That's an average of of $38.55, which is a $7 difference from Omaha's average rate of $46.00
As far as the number of options in each state, Winnie learned that it's about the same, one or two main providers like Cox, Century Link, AT&T or Xfinity.
"It does seem like in each market, that you go to, it's a very limited selection," Kane said.
However, the Mejias say it's all about prices too.
"I know that other towns they offer cheaper prices with unlimited internet."
It's important to note that Cox limits the amount of data customers can use. If you go over, you will get charged. Kane says since Century Link and Cox are pretty much the only two choices, both companies are able to set their prices any way they want.
"The more you introduce different brands or options to the public then they have to keep up with better customer service, with better responsiveness, better billing but if there's only 2 options they don't have to treat as you well."
Kane also mentions that even if new providers ever come to the Omaha area, people may not adapt.
"I think it's what we are comfortable with, everyone is comfortable with the services that are provided by either the phone company century link or the cable company so it's like you have those two options."
For each city, she added all the base prices together and divided it by the number of main providers in that specific city. After calculating numbers for all five cities, she then averaged those numbers out. The final number, she subtracted it from Omaha's average rate of $46.00. She got $7.00.