Common House Technology Cost Savings
From: Robert Heinich (robertenocommons.org)
Date: Thu, 5 Apr 2007 03:54:34 -0700 (PDT)
I thought I would share technology cost savings we implemented in our 
community.  Your mileage may vary.

Phone service: Unfortunately, our Common House was considered a commercial 
building so the land line we had cost us about $55/month.  We switch to an 
internet phone service, Lingo, for $8/month.
  a.. Cost savings: > $45/month
  b.. Downside
    a.. When we lose power or internet service to the Common House, we lose the 
phone service
    b.. Handset: we went from one corded phone in the kitchen to three wireless 
cordless handsets distributed throughout the Common House.  We have a greater 
chance of losing a handset but at these prices we could lose a handset every 
few months and still be ahead.  (We had this service since late January and we 
have not lost a handset yet.)  
Internet service: Again, our Common House was considered a commercial building 
so the internet service we had cost us about $90/month.  (We have a member who 
is renting an office in Common House and he required internet service.  We pass 
on the cost.)  We entered into a bulk agreement for the entire community and 
the ISP was willing to consider the Common House to be like a residence.  So we 
have cable internet service (5 Mbs) for every home and the Common House for 
$29/month.
  a.. Cost savings: > $60/month and enable us to implement the phone service 
cost savings noted above.
  b.. Downside
    a.. ISP bulk agreement did not provide email addresses (although they did 
permit those who had email addresses with them to keep them).
    b.. Everyone must agree to their service
    c.. May be bundled with cable TV service (see next item)
  c.. Special Note: the person renting the office in the Common House received 
bigger bandwidth (3Mbs to 5Mbs) so he was able to drop the land line 
(commercial rate) and use an internet phone and save some money. 
Cable service: Again, our Common House was considered a commercial building so 
the cable TV service we had cost us about $50/month.  We entered into a bulk 
agreement for the entire community and the ISP/cable folks was willing to 
consider the Common House to be like a residence.  We have cable TV service 
(standard 77 channels) for every home and the Common House.  (Although every 
houses wired and has cable TV service, less than half the community wanted to 
pay for cable TV.  Some of us do not have TVs.  As the cable company charged 
the HOA for our 22 homes and Common House, we charge the total cost by the 
number of participating households.)  Even with this reduced demand, the 
effective cost of cable TV service is $39/month.  (If everyone paid for both 
internet and cable TV service, the total individual cost to everyone would have 
been about $42/month.)
  a.. Cost savings: > $6/month.
  b.. Downside
    a.. As our internet and cable TV services was bundled, if you do not 
sufficient participation for cable TV service, it might drive the effective 
cost for both services to the individual homes too high to be worthwhile.
  c.. Special Note: If an individual home wanted both internet and standard 
cable TV, they saved > $30/month over the regular rate.  They could still add 
services a la carte.
I hope the above helps.  Another example of how living cooperatively in 
cohousing can save us money.

-Robert Heinich
 Eno Commons
 Durham, NC

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