Price Gouging

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I am a senior citizen with very simple needs regarding all devices in my home which include a telephone, a computer and a television. For one year now, I have been paying Cox $144.49. This sum was agreed to one year ago after I gave up my long-distance calls on my landline to save money.
Although I have seen varying figures on my bill for the last year, every time I call to complain, they usually bring it back to the agreed upon price. I do feel, however, that I should not have to waste an hour or two of my time every other month to beg them to keep their agreement. Two days ago, I was told that my last promotion had expired and that my new rate would be $50-$100 more each month!
The person that I was talking to told me how hard she was trying to find a new promotion for me. Finally after two hours, she said that my only options were to give up my landline altogether bringing my bill to $166.15 or to lower my internet speed from 150 to 50 which would bring my bill to $183.61. Neither option sounded very good to me. 
In case of another emergency, I feel that it is important for me to have a landline. As far as a slower internet speed, my internet is slow as it is! 
So, she said that my monthly rate is going up to $197.61. This is a $53 increase!
Cox has a monopoly in the area. In good days, this is price gauging. In emotionally and financially stressful times now, I find it to be cruel and distasteful. What can we do?

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