Charter told a family their new house was ready for internet, then sent them a $16,000 bill to activate it

Oh, Charter: Chad Pierce and his family bought a house in Newaygo, Michigan, but first they called their local cable monopoly, Charter/Spectrum, and confirmed verbally, online and in writing that the new house could get internet access.

But when they moved in, Charter told them it would cost $16,000. Then they told them it would cost $2,300. Then they changed their mind again and said it was $16,000.

Charter has no idea why it repeatedly told Pierce his house could have internet, or why it briefly marked down the work by $13,700. But they're certain $16K is the price.

Pierce ended up getting wireless internet from the city.

Luckily, this story has a relatively happy ending, thanks to a municipal broadband provider. After finding out that Charter would only provide service in exchange for $16,000, Pierce learned about NCATS, or Newaygo County Advanced Technology Services, a broadband network operated by the local school district.

The service is wireless and the speeds don't match Charter's, but it has been good enough for Pierce and his family.

"Wireless Broadband was implemented due to a growing demand for broadband services in Newaygo County," NCATS says on its website. "Wireless Internet has become a community project to offer low-latency, high-throughput resources to those homes and businesses outside the reach of traditional services."

Additionally, NCATS says it "is a publicly owned self-sustained network paid through its subscribed members."

Charter promises Internet service to family—then says it'll cost $16,000 [Jon Brodkin/Ars Technica]