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Sioux Falls tenants claim letter mandates they subscribe to Midco internet service

Published: May. 3, 2022 at 9:00 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) -Barry Longden and his neighbors were perplexed by a letter that announced a new amenity, but they were expected to pay for it; A monthly subscription to Midco internet.

" It says it’s required, quote-unquote, but it doesn’t explain what that means. So what if I decide I don’t want to do that? It doesn’t say like what happens as a result if I decide to opt-out or if I just refuse to do it,” said Longden.

The letter also had some red flags.

“Do not contact Midco. Do not contact your lease manager,” said Longden.

The price for the mandated package was higher than the Midco service he already had purchased on his own.

“They’re asking for $80 a month for only 100 megabits per second. I pay about $50 for about 500 meg megabits per second, so almost half the cost for five times the speed,” said Longden.

We talked to Midco representative Paige Pearson, who confirms it is not a scam, but the letter’s wording is not the customer service they want to convey. Instead, it’s all coming from a third-party bulk seller of Midco. And she also says there may be a “snag” in their plan.

The FCC recently ruled against similar situations on February 15th. It says arrangements between telecommunications providers and owners of multi-tenant housing are not allowed.

We traced the owners: Cornerstone Residential owns Westpointe Commons, Dakota Pointe, and Whisper Ridge in the Sioux Falls area, along with other rental properties in 9 states. We asked them about the letter. VP of Operations Jared Barton declined an interview but sent a response:

“Over the next few months, the community is scheduled to offer amenity access to Provider services. After initial feedback and data, and our continued commitment to bringing value to residents, we have lowered the anticipated fee to better match the market area. We have no further comment.”

Longden says he is waiting for a reply from his property manager and Midco. If the price is lower, he hasn’t been notified.

“It almost feels like they’re trying to monopolize the market. A little bit. And also trying to like it feels like they’re strong-arming us into paying a rate that isn’t equitable for the internet that we’re getting either,” said Longden.

As tenants learn more, this may be the first chapter in their story, as together, they advocate for what they believe to be their tenant rights.

Our I-team contacted Cornerstone Residential again, asking what the new, lower fee is and their response to the FCC ruling, and have not received a response.

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