Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Technology In The Boonies & A Question

Recently, some residents of Loudoun County, Virginia, discovered that the carrot offered by a builder turned out to be a long-term contract which they didn't expect and no longer need. Excerpt from this article in the May 21, 2007 Washington Post:
...Just a few years ago, developers lured homebuyers to the outer suburbs with the promise of lightning-fast Internet access and high-definition television to go along with Olympic-size swimming pools, tennis courts and other amenities.

Residents bragged about not just keeping up with their inner-suburb neighbors but leapfrogging them altogether -- only to watch their technological advantage give way to newer offerings.

What was once state of the art is now par for the course, a frustration familiar to any early adopter who has bought the latest and greatest only to find something better, or cheaper, soon after. For Southernwalk, the price of chasing Internet Nirvana turned out to be a contract that could run 75 years.


"It was the only way to get Internet out here back then, so the concept seemed like a good idea," said Hodell-Cotti, who moved into the neighborhood with her husband four years ago. She recently bought a satellite dish for better reception, but she still pays the mandatory fee for OpenBand services. "Now there are more options out there, but we're stuck in a monopoly."


Murali Pavuloori, who works on computer networks for a living, moved into the neighborhood three years ago in part because he wanted Internet speeds often reserved for huge corporations. He doesn't mind the slower connection as much as he does the high fees.

"It's a total rip-off," he said during a meeting with neighbors. "Everybody bought into the promises they [OpenBand] can't keep."...
Homeowners in Loudoun County are lawyering up, of course, and have some hope that they might be able to get the contract overturned; other similar contracts have been abrogated in other similar developments. The real-estate market and the price of gasoline for a longer commute are now such that those hinterland homes with costly Internet access are not as marketable, especially with at monthly fee as described above.

I love my own Internet access, which I upgraded from dial up to broadband about a year and a half ago. But a contract for 75 years? No thank you! Life has a way of changing, and people should have the foresight to remember that good times don't last forever.

This isn't a Friday, so it's not time for the QUESTION OF THE WEEK. But just as a matter of curiosity, I have a question for readers here: What do you pay for Internet access and all those channels for your television?

I pay about $105/month, a fee which includes satellite television ($80) and Internet access with broadband ($25). Of course, I can cancel or switch servers at any time. I can't imagine signing a contract for 75 years!

Labels: , ,

Bookmark and Share
posted by Always On Watch @ 5/22/2007 07:30:00 AM