CenturyLinkDSLAdIn Missouri River, Montana, there is no such thing as “fast” broadband. They are given the choice between CenturyLink DSL service and…..well, that is it. The service is so bad that several residents wrote a guest column for the local paper, the Missoulian, describing what a nightmare their service has been and continues to be.

Working telephones are taken for granted in most places. Not where we live. Between Cascade and Wolf Creek along the Interstate 15 corridor, landline telephones are a game of chance. Sometimes they work; sometimes they don’t. If you need to call 9-1-1, you might whisper an extra prayer before you pick up your phone. – Missoulian

As they continued to write, Missouri River residents have been trying to fix these issues for years. For years, the Montana Public Service Commission has looked into CenturyLink and found nothing. Residents have begged someone, anyone in the government to simply do their jobs and fine a company that continues providing extremely poor service due to the lack of any competition.

Now, the Montana Consumer Counsel is putting pressure on CenturyLink to fix their service. Again, not even upgrade….simply FIX what is and has been broken for years.

We want to know our phones will work, especially since most of us don’t have mobile phone service. Our terrain is just too rugged.In our dreams, we imagine working Internet service. The few of us who dare to try to do business from our homes would love to have a better chance to succeed without forcing our customers to tolerate the inconvenience of iffy or non-existent file sharing. – Missoulian

So, imagine the residents of Missouri River as CenturyLink debates whether to accept the FCC’s help with the Connect America Fund, a program designed to offering rural phone and broadband providers up to $100 million in cash grants to provide improved telecommunications. In the past, CenturyLink has turned this money down due to the restrictions put on what the money can be spent on.

CenturyLinkConsumerReviewsOf course, by “restrictions” I mean that the FCC has pretty much said that the money must go to the upgrade process while CenturyLink and other ISP’s prefer using the money for whatever they want. As the guest column noted, “the FCC program may be our single best hope for working telecommunications service.”

That is bad.