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FAQ for SWHOA

Discussion in 'Southern Walk Announcements' started by Chsalas, Jan 14, 2017.

  1. btsnod

    btsnod New Member

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    I have to agree with the answers to the 4 questions that Zeratul provided in bold above - fair and accurate.

    Through the FAQ, Newsletter, meetings and Forum discussions more info is now getting shared with the SWHOA members and the board members have worked hard to improve transparency, share info and work to the best interests of our community with the end in mind of ensuring we have a long term strategy for reliable and fairly priced for internet in our neighborhood.

    I also concur with the post from JCB on Monday and encourage more from the community to attend the meetings and learn for themselves as many are starting to do.
     
  2. stoner

    stoner Member

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    We are now on the third page of this discussion on what SW's future service could look like.
    I have one hopefully relevant question. What is the service situation for the rest of Broadlands and why, after a buyout, can't SW have the same? Who are providers and what are contracts for the "old" part of the community?
     
  3. Zeratul

    Zeratul Well-Known Member

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    stoner - the rest of Broadlands is "normal" when it come to telecommunications (phone, tv, internet). As homes were planned and built, as standard practice, easements (access rights) were established for all the home connections - to include telecommunications. Comcast, as a Franchise holder of telecommunications services with the County is required according to housing density, provide these services and wire for telecommunications. After that, some one like Verizon can choose to wire neighborhoods as well by using the easements.

    In our case, the Community of Southern Walk was created by the Developer, who also created Openband... to whom they also assigned and granted all necessary easements for telecommunications... including the "magical" Exclusivity easement. Van Metre effectively blocked any other provider from providing service as long as that exclusivity remains.

    So, right now the only way to get internet would be Openband or Satellite. TV could be Openband, or a dish provider...possibly antenna or some internet (but still Openband). Phone is similar.

    Make sense?
     
  4. flynnibus

    flynnibus Well-Known Member Forum Staff

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    This is the question that homeowners should press for before accepting any more 'contracts' - why after the openband easement clause is bought out (another failure..) why the county can not press Comcast to address the need in the neighborhood.
     
  5. flynnibus

    flynnibus Well-Known Member Forum Staff

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    It's very simple.. the 'old' part of the community has normal utility access, so there is no mandatory services, need to enter bulk contracts, etc. Southernwalk's Developer (Van Metre) made a self-serving deal that created Openband, and gave them an exclusive for telecommunications easements in Southernwalk. Hence why Openband is your only provider, and why no other providers can offer new service.

    It's been a self-serving deal from the start.. Van Metre joins with a partner to create a provider.. then gives them exclusive, unchallengable access to the community, forces every homeowner to pay for its services, sets up a HOA to force all homeowners to pay even if some do not, and then establishes a percent of fees to go back to Van Metre. The lawsuit has only 'won' two concessions.. that the mandatory participation portion be dropped... and that Openband would open up to allow other providers in the neighborhood.. IF you pay them 1 million in blood money.
     
  6. Capricorn1964

    Capricorn1964 Well-Known Member

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    You said it best and I don't think anyone could have said it better than you have.

    However, I'm concerned that SWHOA will never (or refuse to if asked to) disband once the exclusivity buyout is 100% completed. Why in the world would they want to continue the bulk cable/internet/phone billing arrangement AND HOA fees beyond the buyout is beyond me. This is tantamount to controlling/limiting the residents' choices. I as heck don't want SWHOA telling me who I can contract with after the buyout and I don't want to be held to SWHOA's future provider if I don't like their choice. I want to be able to select whichever provider is providing services to us- whether it be Comcast, Verizon, Cox, or some other provider. I want to control what comes in my household--not by SWHOA. PERIOD.

    BUT I don't think my wishes are ever going to happen.
     
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  7. Zeratul

    Zeratul Well-Known Member

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    The main reason the SWHOA will exist after the buyout is to negotiate and manage in initial community contract. The price and package of services we can get as a community are better that we would as individuals. The SWHOA has a limit to the term (3 years) so beyond that, I think the HOA existence question becomes relevant. SWHOA could at that point, roll over any HOA responsibilities to the BHOA.

    No provider will come here without the easement gone. The county does not have any enforcement teeth to make Comcast come here either. If we were to band together as a community, carry some torches to the next BoS meeting... we might get some attention. Around 1100 homes is not enough for the providers to invest without some minimum guarantee. Unless we get some agreement up front, it is not going to happen any time soon.
     
  8. stoner

    stoner Member

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    OK, I understand how we got where we are. I repeat the latter part of my question, which is still unanswered. After SWHOA buys out OB (assuming), why cannot our situation be the same as "old" Broadlands - a 'normal' community subject to county rules allowing the same providers, same access, same everything as the rest of the community?
     
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  9. Zeratul

    Zeratul Well-Known Member

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    Based upon the feedback I saw from Verizon on previous discussion... the size of our community is nothing to motivate them to make the up front investment. they have to wire the whole community. If we can guarantee all 1100 homes for a minimal period... they might do it. Otherwise, we have nothing.
     
  10. btsnod

    btsnod New Member

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    I agree with the Dave's posts above. Since Verizon and Comcast were not given easements when the neighborhood was being built, the upfront investment for a neighborhood our size at this point in time is too large without a defined commitment of service for the whole community. Since neither Verizon or Comcast have easements today and Openband has the only easement the only choice we have is with Openband. The role of the SWHOA is to get a commitment for either Verizon or Comcast to build new easement into our community and manage that commitment on behalf of the community with Verizon or Comcast.
     
  11. flynnibus

    flynnibus Well-Known Member Forum Staff

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    I find this dubious. If we need bulk to even get them here... your bulk is needed to get to the starting point.. not buying a discount.

    I also find this dubious. Look at every subdivision being built around here... they are way smaller than 1100 homes and no one is entering bulk agreements locking customers in.
     
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  12. vacliff

    vacliff "You shouldn't say that."

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    Several years ago, I know Verizon was watching the SW HOA/Openband lawsuit closely. They had an interest in getting into the community but couldn't as long as Openband has exclusive easements.
    It is my guess that both Verizon and Comcast would provide service if easements are made available. 1100 homes in a small defined area should be very attractive to them.
     
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  13. Zeratul

    Zeratul Well-Known Member

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    The feedback has been pretty consistent over the past 2+ years from the providers that it was not a "typical" subdivision where all the planning and infrastructure can be done up front. It is harder and more expensive to re-wire and existing neighborhood. Recent engineering studies were done and since there seemed to be a lack of excitement afterwards, I am assuming that these studies did not show great news. I think Steve, it is more of an apples to oranges problem and not as simple as your assumption.

    I am making some of my own assumptions too but based upon the prices that we have seen recently, the savings seem to be worth the commitment (3 years). I am not a fan of a bulk contract on principle but when faced with the other choices and assuming that the Providers are not jumping at the chance on their own, I am open to options.
     
  14. flynnibus

    flynnibus Well-Known Member Forum Staff

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    Well that is a different problem. Before you said 'Around 1100 homes is not enough for the providers to invest without some minimum guarantee', making the claim the issue is not enough homes/customers to make it viable. That's bunkus compared to other communities. If the problem is the costs are too high due to not having clear access, etc that is something different and something people can respect.

    Again, if the board were to make CONVINCING arguments instead of "just trust us.. we've looked at this", buy in would be better.

    And as for 'not a typical subdivision where all the planning and infrastructure can be done up front' -- Verizon did that almost everywhere for their FIOS rollout, so its not like it's unachievable.

    How much of a sales pitch has the SWHOA made to providers? Highlight the demographics, that every home has little alternative, highlight the average price that everyone is already paying, and showing how much better the competitor's products are. You made it look like a slamdunk for attach rate, show its a highpaying customer base, and highlight how little competition they have.

    I'm sure its a topic of convincing... just like it would be for them to move into any new area.
     
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  15. Capricorn1964

    Capricorn1964 Well-Known Member

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    Again, I agree.

    Convincing the residents and the providers is key. Saying "trust us, we've looked at this" isn't cutting it. I'm not going to trust anyone unless they provide me with the FACTS, DATA and Other solid pertinent information that WILL convince me. Saying "around 1100 homes" is pure bunk since that person hasn't done REAL factual research. Opinions are just that...Opinions and it won't convince me.
     
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  16. Zeratul

    Zeratul Well-Known Member

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    Yea you guys are hitting upon a lot of the questions and ideas that have been flying around... it is hard on this discussion to cover them all. We discussed several incentives and conditions to establishing a bulk contract...all ideas that push a provider to provide "extras". Personally, I am not trying to get ahead of myself either, I hope the Board can get ahead of some of this. At the last meeting, many of us urged the Board to get more proactive on sharing information and reminded them of the negative history etc.

    For now, the only way to deal with this and deal with these questions are at the meetings...but the Board has been open so far.
     
  17. cogs

    cogs Well-Known Member

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    Remember the discussions we had here about the agreement SWHOA signed with Openband. There is no language in the agreement that Openband is selling the exclusive easement rights to SWHOA. It just says, OB will "relinquish" its rights. What is the legal meaning of the word "relinquish" and can the entity which granted the easements to OB reclaim the easements? Agreement open to too many questions and interpretations.

    Its not like our homes are far away rural area. ROI will not be an issue for any communication service provider unless we stupidly go and begging them for service, then their take advantage of the opportunity.
     
  18. cogs

    cogs Well-Known Member

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    No, they do not have a legal right to enter into any new bulk billing agreement. They gave themselves that right without following the association procedures. Their right exists until someone challenges in the court (and they cannot come after the members for legal fees either, as it is malpractice and the association insurance policy will provide the defense).
     
  19. btsnod

    btsnod New Member

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    There have been a lot of good responses to the original post. While there have been many good questions and answers posted to continue to share info, there have been a lot of opinions posted too and it is hard to tell how many opinions are coming from residents of the SWHOA area.

    From my experience over the last 3 months, it really is best that those who want to learn more attend the next board meeting or special meeting they call. The board is committed to answering our questions at these meetings and when they don't have an answer they admit it and the questions is discussed in front of the community attendees and our input is well received. The board has said that when they have an update on any opportunity for Verizon or Comcast to come into our neighborhood they will engage the community members via a meeting as well.
     
  20. cogs

    cogs Well-Known Member

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    This board should concentrate on removing the OB exclusive easements permanently. Once the legal impediments are out of the way, companies like Verizon and Comcast who are in the business of providing telecom services will start servicing the community. A few years ago, my friends house in Baltimore area was wired by Verizon. His house is in a remote neighborhood where houses are on 2-3 acre lands. All it took was 8 homes in his street to request Verizon for service. Here we have much denser communities with over 3000 homes (SW and Landsdowne combined). It is preposterous to assume Verizon and Comcast will not be interested in servicing the communities of 3000+ homes without a bulk billing arrangement.

    Even more crazy is the idea that OB will shutoff all our community once the easement payment is made by the HOAs. OB is also in the telecom services business for residential and federal govt and they will keep servicing the communities. If OB decides it to get out of telecom service provider business, they are not going to turn off the lights and walk away. They have huge amount assets in the infrastructure, they will sell the assets to other telecom service providers. How many of us will walk away from our homes if we decide to move? Done we try to sell the house and cash in the equity? Why would a corporation be any different?
     

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