In 2013, Cole Marshall purchased a nearly one-acre land just outside the city limits of Sun Prairie, a city with a population of around 30,000 residents. Though Marshall's property was located in the outskirts, it still had Sun Prairie address and zip code. He had been eyeing this land since 2012.
The Web developer says that local cable company Charter assured him that he would be able to access internet from his new home.
"I looked on Charter's website, and I typed in the address of the lot, and it said, 'yup, we can service you.'" Marshall shared.
He also called the company, gave them the address, and they gave him the same guarantee.
The construction of his house started in November 2014, and was completed in June 2015.
However, during the construction phase, he began to worry as he noticed the presence of satellite dishes on the roofs of surrounding residences. He went over and talked to a neighbor who was on a 3Mbps DSL connection. Marshall assumed that the neighbor went on a lower plan to save money.
This was the beginning of Marshall's very own "series of unfortunate events."
"After the house was finished I found out all that was wrong and [my neighbor] was on the fastest plan he could possibly get," he said. "Once my house was built, I called [Charter] to set up the service, and that's when they told me they made a mistake. i was too far away form their network."
A Charter construction coordinator told Marshall that the total cost of service for a fiber optic extension would be $117,000. This would cover materials, labor and a permit for a network home service extension. This amount would have to be fully paid before any construction could begin, and it would not go down, should other homeowners sign up for the same service.
Marshall instead has a 3Mbps/1Mbps connection with Frontier. He is able to work through this, although not without difficulty. He pays more than $50 a month for two DSL lines, one for work and "the other one set up in the living room so I can have grainy Netflix."
He never asked or received Charter's guarantees in writing as he never imagined he would need it.
"It didn't seem wrong to assume that they had the best information about their own network," he explained.
Charter dismissed his complaint, stating that the company's information isn't always accurate.Marshall hopes his experience would serve as a warning to other people.