Hello everyone,

Charter has surveyed the area of Scully, Walsh, Valentine, Stoneview, Black Pine, Gleason and Timberlane roads. They have not yet looked at the areas on Territorial, Blue Heron, Donovan or other non-adjacent roads. I would guess that brining service to other neighborhoods in the area would average out to about the same costs if we were to proceed all at once.

Here I’ll review how much Charter wants to build out service and what the per household costs might be. For Scully and adjoining roads the numbers are:

Labor:      $197,272
Material:    $73,139
Allowances: ($65,400)
Net Cost:   $205,011

I would guess many are shocked at this number. Some probably expected more. I’m not going to get into wether this is unfair or a good deal. I’ll just lay out the numbers as is.

Charter figures out labor and materials costs and “potential make ready charges, costs from the power company and other matters out of our control…” Each potential service hookup gets a $600 allowance. For our area, we have 77 homes and 32 empty lots which give us our allownace:

77 + 32 = 109 potential "hookups"
109 x $600 = $65,400 allowance

So this would give a build out cost per “hookup” of:

$205,011 / 109 = $1881

This $1881 would be a “best case” scenario and would involve:

1) Convincing everyone in the area to pay for hookup.
2) Identifying developers/owners of empty lots and convincing them to pay $1881 per hookup.
3) For neighbors who may own empty lots, they would agree to pay for multiple hookups.

If the build out cost were divided equally among the 77 existing homes (assuming everyone wants cable), the cost would be:

$205,011 / 77 =  $2662

In this case, we would then have to figure out how to reimburse residents as new homes (on those 32 empty lots) are hooked up.

In the more realistic scenario that not everyone wants cable or would pay the up-front investment, there are a few other options I can think of:

1) Grants throught the Department of Agriculture and Federal Communications Commission. Both of these organizations have programs to help build out rural areas.
2) Form an LLC or co-op which funds the build out and recoups their investment through monthly surchages on service.

Again, I don’t want to give my personal opinion at this point. I’d like everyone to think on this and post their feedback.

What do you think? Crazy? Doable? Unfair? Good deal? Let us know.


    • Joshua Barclay
    • Posted May 5, 2011 at 7:36 pm
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    I am on Valentine just west of Merrill Rd, and the cable ends at the neighbors just to my east. When I asked for an estimate to just connect me, Charter quoted $6000. Obviously $2k or $3k is cheap by comparison.

    At the same time, I’m infuriated that in a free and supposedly capitalist country, we are NOT FREE to get another bid for SOMEONE ELSE BESIDES CHARTER to do all the cable connections. I am quite certain that if someone was bidding against charter for putting up their wiring to the same specs, the cost would go way down. Is their any legal recourse for us since the cable company has a monopoly?

    I am willing to volunteer to help write a grant to get at some of the DA and FCC money, and I also support forming a co-op if that means we can amortize the cost over many years.

      • Chris Leonello
      • Posted May 6, 2011 at 4:05 pm
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      A starting place for grants is this page on the fcc website: http://wireless.fcc.gov/outreach/index.htm?job=broadband_home

      Look for the “broadband funding” column on the right. I am unfamiliar with any of the specifics, so if anyone can look into it and get back to me that would be great.

        • Joshua Barclay
        • Posted May 7, 2011 at 5:27 pm
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        Are there any lawyers in this group? I took a very brief look at the fcc website linked above, and there is in fact a lot of help available, grants and loans, some of which is limited to public institutions and non-profits. I’m willing to help with writing applications if someone is interested in finding the most applicable grant/loan.

      • Jeff Dohner
      • Posted May 16, 2011 at 7:44 pm
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      I think there are some great suggestions here. I don’t know how long it would take to apply for, and get accepted/rejected for a grant, but I think it’s worth pursuing. I also think amortizing cost through a co-op is also a great idea. $2600 might be a lot to bite off all at once, but amortized over several years and it’s significantly less than my family cell phone plan. That’s a lot easier to chew on..

      I think Cable is the best way to go. It has a lot of ‘headroom’ in terms of speed. I would consider this an investment, and in fact might even have a quantifiable payoff timeframe (I have, for instance, about $70/month in various wireless data plans that I would get rid of if I had ‘real’ fixed internet.

      You can count me in for this.


    • Chris OKeefe
    • Posted May 9, 2011 at 5:29 pm
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    Chris thanks for all the info you’ve provided. I, also would be willing to pay my share. I think the Charter option would be best if everyone was ok with it.

    • Dan Flynn
    • Posted May 10, 2011 at 10:10 pm
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    Charter has broadband one tenth of a mile from my house. I can see the pole that has it. I approached Charter to ask about connecting. The company wants to charge us $8000.00 to run the cable that tenth of a mile. I think this is outrageous. Since there is no competition and after reading the Charter contract with Webster Township we have no leverage. Everything goes to the state and no one cares about my house on my one mile road where I can see the cable one tenth of a mile from the house. My wife and I are really frustrated. We are willing to help with any grant writing.