5/19/21 The Long Wait for High-Speed Internet Is Over
Great news: Long before the end of summer, everyone in The Springs will have access to high-speed internet. Our prolonged efforts to bring that service to our community have resulted in an agreement between the board and Windstream for its Kinetic fiber-optic cable service. The result is that The Springs, long a place where internet customers went to lament — or curse — their internet options, will now have access to 1-gig service, the fastest available anywhere in the world.
The board has entered into a 10-year marketing agreement to make Windstream the preferred internet provider in The Springs. In a nutshell, it means that for 10 years, we will not permit any other company to install fiber-optic cable for the purpose of providing a similar service. In exchange, Windstream will soon begin construction on this project with a goal of completing the installation and beginning service to the entire community by late July or early August. Under terms of the deal, customers will agree to a three-year commitment to purchase the gig service (including phone service) for $199 per month, not including fees and taxes. After three years, the monthly rate will drop to the market rate paid by other Windstream customers, currently $99. Cheaper options will be available for those who wish slower (but still fast) service.
Many of you were contacted recently by a Windstream representative who was apologetic about misstating the monthly rate at $219, including taxes and fees, and predicted that the monthly charge would more likely be around $250. Legal restrictions do not allow Windstream to quote a fee that includes fees and taxes, but nevertheless, the board was insistent that the $250 estimate was far higher than the long-discussed $219 total. Windstream is now saying that the agreed-upon deal will actually come in slightly below $219 when fees and taxes are added.
The one concession the board agreed to make to bring that monthly rate down to $199 was to extend by one year the window during which new houses or buyers of existing houses will be required to sign on at this rate. So, for the next six years instead of five, new property owners will agree to pay $199 per month for three years. After the six-year window, market rates will apply for the first three (and subsequent) years for new customers.
Once construction begins, Windstream will be able to provide service as soon as it reaches each house. In other words, if your house is in an area where the fiber-optic cable is installed, you won’t have to wait for installation in the rest of the community. Windstream says it will contact each customer as the service line is available, at which time individual contracts can be signed. Those interested can also sign a contract with Windstream for streaming TV service, for an extra monthly fee.
The board would like to extend a big Thank You to the Community High-Speed Internet Task Force, a group of technically-savvy Springs residents that was formed in early 2020 to explore options for finally bringing high-speed internet to The Springs. Members Gary Moore, Bill Scheppers, and Sian DeAngelis, with help from Ken Vander Schaaf, were led by Board Vice President Jerry Bushey. At the start of their efforts, Windstream was not even an option. The group persisted through three or four other options that ultimately did not pay off, and we on the board are convinced that without the hard work and dedication of this highly knowledgeable group, we would not be able to make this announcement today. They deserve all the credit, and thanks from our community.
HOA Board of Directors: Karl Svatek
Update May 13, 2021
Earlier this week, the board met with several Kinetic representatives to review the proposed service to be installed in our community. Windstream has agreed to move ahead with this project based on the initial commitments we received from homeowners in our earlier surveys. From the board level, we will be signing an agreement with Windstream to allow access to the community and provide them with an exclusive marketing agreement for their services to our property owners.
While we originally thought we would need individual signed contracts from subscribers before work would begin, we have learned now that will not be the case. Homeowners will be signing contracts as service is available to their property, the expectation being that service will be phased in through the neighborhood over approximately 60 days.
It is expected construction will begin by late May or early June. Therefore, some households will have service available by mid-June. Weather permitting, we can expect all households will be reached by late July or early August. We encourage all households to subscribe as service becomes available.
HOA Board of Directors: Jerry Bushey
Update April 1, 2021
Several questions have been asked recently concerning the status of the Windstream installation. Reid Chavis sent an email providing an update on the progress; however, the distribution did not reach everyone. The following are excerpts from that communication:
“The fiber-design team is designing how to lay the fiber. It is a huge undertaking, and we want to make sure that we do this the correct way.”
“Our back-office team is creating a special portal website for residents of The Springs. In the event a trouble ticket needs to be placed, this is where you will place it. This will make any troubles have a heightened level of urgency. (This is in your contractual service level agreement.)”
“I am finalizing the details on the contracts with legal and with marketing. To speak candidly, The Springs is an extremely rare situation, and we have to build the back office, pricing, and other components from the ground up.”
“I know what you’re thinking. Will we get service in May? I am still optimistic that this will happen. Once the fiber is designed and contracts are sent and signed, the construction will not take that long. We will turn customers on once we passed their home. We have multiple construction crews throughout to help lay the fiber more quickly and will connect at a central point.”
“I am as excited as all of you are. We are nearly there. If you have questions, I ask that you text or call me at 336.239.1276.”
The internal administrative items they are addressing are taking longer than originally planned. Reid is optimistic the contracts will be out to us soon. The installation will commence as soon as they have the number needed returned to them.
CHIT Task Force: Jerry Bushey and Karl Svatek
We recently announced the opportunity we have to bring high-speed broadband internet service into The Springs. The service would be provided by Kinetic (Windstream) and be in-ground fiber-optic cable to each house in The Springs. For Kinetic to offer this fiber-optic internet service to any homeowners in The Springs, a minimum number of existing homeowners must commit to wanting this service. Those currently building or building soon will also assist in reaching the required target.
Reid Chavis, our Windstream representative, met with several small groups at the clubhouse last week to discuss the offering being made and to respond to the property owner’s questions. The following items are taken from those meetings and may be of interest to those of you who could not attend.
The proposed service would be 1 Gig internet and phone.
Installation of the cable will begin as soon as the minimum number of contracts has been met. Service for the community will be available within 60 days of the start date.
Subscribers will be required to sign a 36-month contract at an all-inclusive rate of $219/month. The rate of $219 is an above-market rate and, after the contract term, the market rate would be applicable. The current market rate for comparable internet and phone service is $100. Lower levels of service would be available at that time and could be as low as today’s rate of $55/month for internet only.
Television service can be added for an additional fee. Their television programming options are available for review on their website. They have three tiers available ranging in base price from $65-85/month.
The service is for 1 Gig with a guarantee of 800 Mbps into your home at all times. The latency (ping) is 10-20 milliseconds. There are no caps applicable to use.
Installation and equipment are provided at no expense to the user. Equipment will include a mesh Wi-Fi 6 system for your home and provide access in all areas of your home as well as outside living areas. Consultation service on layout and design is available before installation at no cost.
Residential advisory service is available at no cost to new home builders wanting advice on wiring to be installed during construction.
The sale of the house opt-out will result in the buyer’s having to complete the
36-month period if the seller is subscribed. The buyer will be required to complete any remaining portion of the 36-month period should they desire service from Windstream.
During the next 3 years, all new subscribers will be required to commit to a 36-month contract at the $219/month rate. All existing homes at the time the service is available to the community will be required to commit to the 36-month rate of $219 if they choose to start service anytime in the next 5 years.
For part-year residents, service can be suspended for the period the service is not in use. The exact terms of this are yet to be described; however, this activity will extend the contract until 36 payments are completed.
Those currently on Windstream landline service and DSL may keep their existing service, and keep paying at their existing rate. If they decide to sign up for the new internet/phone bundle, they can keep their phone number and avoid paying their current landline cost by upgrading to the fiber-optic service.
Contract terms will be available soon and will be delivered to every interested person by Windstream. It may be possible to digitally sign the contract and return it to them.
New home builders may sign up now and be counted in the required minimum customer count. For the next 5 years, any new home built will be subject to the $219/month rate for 36 months. Their service and billing would begin when service is activated, typically at the time of Certificate of Occupancy.
For current homeowners with existing contracts with other providers (e.g., Hughesnet, Viasat, Dish, Directv, etc.) they may sign up now and be counted in the required minimum customer count but can delay the actual service and billing until their existing contract expires.
Current homeowners need to indicate that:
Yes, they want service by sending an email to Reid Chavis. If you have already done so, a contract will be sent to you as soon as it is available.
No, they do not want fiber-optic service in The Springs by advising the HOA’s Internet Search Committee via email to Jerry Bushey.
We are optimistic the community will quickly respond favorably to this opportunity. If you have more questions you can direct them to Reid Chavis.
CHIT Force: Jerry Bushey and Karl Svatek