Shared Internet [ was Revisiting single metering
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Mon, 11 Jan 2016 06:48:55 -0800 (PST)
> On Jan 10, 2016, at 5:32 PM, Linda Haas <lindahaas88 [at]> wrote:
> We are also trying find a way to share costs of internet.

We had internet geeks in 1999 when we designed the system. We installed wall 
plugs with connections for cable, telephone, and ethernet in almost every room 
— meaning 4-5 outlets per unit. It’s a building wide system. This means we also 
have an intranet which people use to share computers, the printer in the 
office, music, and back up drives.

That has worked very well except the configuration in the basement that tied 
all the internet connections to a modem. I don’t understand that configuration 
but it took years to get it working in a trustworthy manner. This has finally 
been accomplished in the last 2-3 years. It still goes out periodically, but we 
have software that the geeks use on their own computers to restart the system. 
And we have started stocking spare routers so when one blows, we have one on 

I also recommend routers replaced automatically after an expected life span. It 
is a huge disruption for those who work on the internet not to have service 
until a router arrives in the mail or someone drives out to MicroCity to get 
one. I’ve actually driven out myself and read the labels to someone on an 
iPhone to be told which one to buy. A person who works on internet stuff 
professionally says the best practice is to buy the basic reliable workhorse 
and replace it every year. Next year the basic reliable workhorse will have all 
the bells and whistles the high end router had last year, and the bugs will be 
worked out, and it will be even cheaper.

So the caution is that universal wiring is good, but attention needs to be paid 
to the design in the basement.

We have increased capacity over the years. At first we had an account with a 
small local company in a way I don’t know how to describe. They didn’t have 
great service and blamed it on the telephone wires. We went to one RCN 
residential service modem serving all units. Some who wanted more speed had 
their own modems. Only a few used the internet for anything except email. Over 
time people were gaming, watching movies, and everyone was on the web at some 
point almost every day. Friday nights service was very slooooooooow because 
modems theoretically share equally.

The big leap forward was to business class service. It was much faster and we 
got more attention when we needed service. The business service department 
hires better trained people and provides almost instant attention.

When streaming became all the rage and we had many residents working at home, 
we upped the speed and capacity with two business class modems from different 
companies. Connections roll over from one to the other as demand requires. Both 
companies have never been down at the same time and one modem is enough to keep 
everyone functioning until the first is fixed.

Then we added wireless connections so everyone can use all their devices 
anywhere in the community. We have a universal password.

So we have 4-5 connections for each of 43 units and community-wide wireless for 
$3,400 a year. That is $79 dollars a year for fast business class service in 
each unit. It is part of the condo fee which is partially based on unit size so 
larger units pay more and smaller units less.

As you know, that is what it would cost each of us for one month for the same 
service as individuals. So community wide wiring is totally worth the time and 
effort.  With wireless it is even easier.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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