Florida Rising Magazine FRM March 2019 - Page 16

16

The process of selecting the right cable TV and broadband vendor.

Every community has an expert in just about everything. There’s always a resident or homeowner who knows everything about landscaping. Another who’s an expert in elevator repair. And yet another who seems to have all the answers for the community’s pool furniture, or guard gate company, or fitness center equipment….This list is endless.

If you live in an HOA community, you’ve probably live among many “experts.” But I have never seen a board meeting topic create more “experts” than when the conversation turns to cable TV or internet for the community. Then “everyone’s” an expert.

I bet I’ve sat in hundreds of these meetings over the years as a consultant, an advisor and as a potential service provider. The conversations are enlightening, emotion-driven, heated debates about what to do regarding the bulk cable and internet services the HOA receives.

Comments range from “my wife and I don’t even watch HBO anymore” to “my friend Sonny’s community just did a deal with these guys that gives them 300 channels and gigabit internet.”

“What’s a gigabit?” another resident asks. “That’s the speed,” a so called expert yells back.

Another attendee then asks “an I watch Netflix with that?” And then the latest expert chimes in: “oh yes you can, but I think you might need a new smart TV for that.”

These conversations go on for hours, weeks, months. And many times, boards decided that the best decision is to stay with what they have, and just renew their agreement for two more years. “I’d like to throw these current bums out of office, but I don’t want to make a mistake.”

Often, boards are trained to think: “we just need to get the best deal.” Lowest price. Smallest rate increases. The most channels. But this is not like hiring a new elevator maintenance company, or a new window washer. Price is just one feature.

In my view, the best deal is the “best deal for your community,” that fits your specific needs.

When communities begin looking at bulk service providers for digital TV or internet, they often get caught up in reviewing proposals from three or more options. It gets confusing because none of these bids are alike. And they usually tell the Board only what they typically offer. The standard plan from Comcast. Basic tier from AT&T. They never ask: “what are you looking for?”.

As a long time provider in your market, my advice is to take control of this process, before you begin seeking bids. I know how many “experts” live in your community, and you should listen to all of them before proceeding with this process.