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Making Choices

Comcast and Mill Run / StoneGate August 2020

From: Jeffrey and Sandra Smith (jcs@wpa.org)

RE: Please Vote NO on Comcast Legacy “Just-Bad” Cable Service

August 15, 2020

Dear Mill Run and Stonegate Neighbors:

Today (Saturday) you may have received a ballot by email from the HOA asking for your vote regarding assessing you and every “parcel” for Comcast copper-based services, in a “bulk” purchase agreement of 5 years. The fee would apply to you whether or not you use Comcast or whether you now have internet or TV service or plan to.  I have no connection to any of the parties in any manner except being a member of the HOA.

For the reasons I outline below, the only rational decision is to vote NO, which would be in favor of competition and against mandatory fees paid to Comcast, who is only offering old cable, (as well as its legendary poor service that Comcast is known for low ratings in national customer service surveys which rank Comcast ). Comcast has NO plan for upgrading any of its lines.  And so with the exception of the commission sought by M Consulting, I cannot see that there is any benefit to sign a 5 year contract.

Please know that for those of you getting good Comcast services now, you don’t have to sign a contract for that currently, so there is no reason why the HOA would enter into a five contract on your behalf with Comcast using cable that was installed 28-33 years ago.

Voting NO will allow competition from at least five other companies. Each of the Five Comcast competitors who offered to run Fiber optic new wiring to all our homes, according to the Board’s prior mailing.

Frankly, this issue only came to my attention this month, and since then I have researched this issue extensively, including emails with M Consulting, the commissioned firm that provided the Board the “bulk” proposals, and the management company. I provided them the information below, but they had already voted as a Board based only on inaccurate and incomplete information provided by Comcast and the commissioned consultants.

On page two below are more details of just three major reasons why we all would want to say NO to a long term mandatory fee relationship with Comcast and the HOA:

  1. First and foremost, Comcast’s cable in the ground is old style cable (mostly RJ-59), which does not currently have the bandwidth to handle both high speed internet and Cable TV to all homes. The fiber is now at the entrance, with 1970s era cable run to each home defined by any online source as insufficient for modern use. I have asked the consultant if they even inspected it, and they wrote back three times refusing to answer, only reporting that Comcast says its sufficient. I have the full letters located here which describe the difference.
  2. Comcast would make no investment AT ALL to upgrade ANY of the copper cable, and we would be stuck with what we have now for a period of at least 5 years. All of the other proposals contained a FULL upgrade to Fiber cable which is easily trenched to each home. I speak from experience here: I also own a house in next-door in Autumn woods, which was all wired with Fiber optic four years ago, at no upfront cost or HOA contract required. It did not require ripping up the lawns as I had expected. When I moved to Mill Run two years ago, my cable speed dropped 70%, and I was and remain unable to even get Comcast TV service given my internet eats up all the bandwidth on the old cable here. And my price went up for less service than I have a quarter mile away. Here in Mill Run I am able to stream most TV shows that I need thru other means and do not miss Comcast TV at all, but I have no choice because Comcast is the only service offered for TV here.
  3. Slow and old technology will cost us in home values. The incentive structure here works against us: the M Consulting firm is not paid by the Board, but receives its pay via a commission from the internet provider, Comcast IF you vote for it. To be clear: since Comcast is making ZERO investment in laying new cable, which can cost a Fiber company 20-30k to lay new cable, Comcast has plenty of cash to pay commissions and keep out competition. But the lack of competition will block other companies for five years, while we will be stuck at that point with 35 year old cable. The studies have shown that high speed internet is a must have with potential purchasers.

In conclusion voting NO will not interrupt any current Comcast service, but will allow competition and new providers to offer better services, avoid a mandatory Comcast fee, and allow the cable to be upgraded to that of our next door neighbors Monterey and Autumn woods, which both have fiber and have for years.

Thank you for your attention to this issue, it affects us all. Please feel free to email or call me and I will (try to) answer any questions on this issue.

Sincerely yours,
Jeffrey and Sandra Smith

Jcs@wpa.org

See: Detailed information of the emails to and from M Consulting and The HOA.