This Is our Village

Monday, February 2, 2015

Note: the following editorial was published in The Village Sentry, an E-Newsletter distributed to the residents of Century Village in Boca Raton and reflects solely the opinion of its publisher and not the management of CVW or Century of Boca Raton Umbrella Association or any of its officers.

It is posted here to serve as a warning to our sister village to beware of small providers who promise the moon and then fail to deliver. We agree with UCO President Dave Israel's latest position called Broadband Services. That will be the future of TV and Internet delivery.

Lie-Fi: Who's Kidding Whom?

Editorial by The Village Sentry (CVW) Publisher Fred Hadley

In a front-page article in the February Cobrua Reporter titled "Century Village Boca WiFi System" DSL Express CEO Jay Brussels, above, makes a statement about the
performance of his system in Century Village West in Boca Raton that seem to contradict his June, 2012 proposal, second revision (reprinted at the end of this article).

In the February Reporter distributed to the associations on Friday and available online starting Monday,Brussels states: 

"The system is not designed for residents
to run their home-based businesses or for streaming movies."

However, in his 2012 proposal Brussels stated, 

"The system will be design (sic) 
to support up to 6,000 simultaneous users including all services such as VoIP (MagicJack)
and streaming video (Netflix)."

Mr. Brussels claims that "just over 2,000 devices" connect daily with 25-50 new users per week. It is disappointing that the system, operating at one-third of its design capacity, will not support MagicJack, which many residents use for free phone calls locally and to the nation and Canada. MagicJack is a "Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)" tool that should not require much in the way of bandwidth to perform acceptably.

DSL Express's 2012 proposal also called for "8 AM to 10 PMTelephone Technical Support," which is provided only from Monday to Friday. What about weekend support? If not
specifically excluded by the proposal, it should have been available since the May 20, 2013 rollout of the problem-plagued system.

It is time to rethink the possibility of replacing the current Wi-Fi System with a bulk-rate High Speed Internet deal that would require 100% of the units to participate,
just as with Cable TV, for a rate that was estimated to be in the "high teens" by a Comcast Account Executive when asked about it in 2012 by The Village Sentry.

We understand that not everyone has a need for Internet access in the village. Nonetheless we are sure that a majority of the 5,712 units are using Internet between the three
providers: Century Village, AT&T and Comcast. If over 2,000 are using the village system and another 1,000 (estimated) are using the mainstream providers, that's 53%, with more added each month as the demographic shifts to younger retirees.

By comparison, units in Century Village West are paying about $35 per month for the bus system that fewer than 30% (estimated) use regularly. That means that over two thirds
of the units are paying 14% of their coupon towards unused "transportation," or about $35 per month.

Why is that acceptable, but a bulk Internet deal is considered inappropriate, when it will cost no more than $20 and will serve an ever-growing majority? Unit owners without computers, tablets and smart phones will surely have visitors who will be able to log in on their devices using the supplied Wi-Fi-capable gateway, even if the unit does not have a computer or device of its own.

Internet access is no longer a luxury but almost a necessity in today's world. The great village Wi-Fi experiment has run its course. Complaints about drops, unreliability, slow speeds, the need to purchase a repeater which was soon rendered obsolete when the "improved" repeater came out, and too little tech support on too few days have become so common that the Chairman of the Cobrua Delegates Meeting may embargo further comments about poor performance. Now our village elders must consider the next step going forward.

If a bulk deal with Comcast is approved by the 16 associations, those already on Comcast will see a substantial price reduction. Those who are currently on AT&T will be transitioned at little or no charge to the lower-priced bulk High Speed Xfinity service. As a fringe benefit, all units will get a modem/router that will provide, at no additional charge, a private, secure Wi-Fi network in their apartments.

If enough users allow the optional second, public network to emanate from their "gateways," the entire village will be covered by outdoor Xfinity Wi-Fi that is logged on to once using the Comcast ID each subscriber will receive.

In addition, the Clubhouse coupon could be lowered by $1.30 per month per unit. What's your opinion? Should the current village CVW Wi-Fi System be retained? Or should
we move on to a more expensive but established provider such as Comcast or AT&T and use our numbers to get the best possible deal for all? 

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