In the past, local telephone companies provided telephone services and local cable companies provided cable television services. That was it. For an association, selecting a service provider was relatively easy since quality choices were few. But in recent years, this scenario has changed dramatically for the benefit of community associations. Regulatory changes, Florida state-wide video franchising, new technologies and increased competition from cable, satellite and telephone companies have created new opportunities and confusion for community associations. Plus, with new Internet technologies, communities are beginning to now upgrade to High Speed Internet delivering speeds up to 1Gig via GPON over Fiber from the phone companies and DOCIS 3.1 from the cable companies over existing Coax wiring.
Do we need fiber in our communities or will the existing coax wiring work just as well, in light of new technologies? There are many moving parts, and although time consuming, successfully navigating and sorting through the many options now available is “key” to securing the best Television, Internet and Phone services and pricing for an association community.
Let’s take a look for a moment:
Cable companies offer:
Cable Television · High-Speed Internet · Phone Services · Security Services
Phone companies offer:
Television Services · High-Speed Internet · Phone Services · Security Services
Satellite television and private cable operators offer:
Satellite Television · High-Speed Internet · Phone Services
Condominium and homeowner associations have more options and choices than ever.
Bulk Cable, Satellite, Internet and Phone Agreements:
The most common type of association existing “Bulk Agreement” today is for cable television video services, but Bulk Agreements increasingly now include both Video and Internet service. Who can live without Internet access, and if the vast majority of the residents are already purchasing Internet service, why not include it in the bulk at a substantial discount? A Bulk Agreement is an agreement which provides for the delivery and billing of services, typically for 100% of the units within the association property. It’s basically a “volume discount” in exchange for a multi-year agreement with pre-established service rates and annual rate increases. Although access rights typically remain non-exclusive, non-bulk “Marketing Agreements” on the other hand, generally compensate the association for permitting a service provider to exclusively market their product on the association property.
With multiple providers, bulk and non-bulk options, plus existing contractual rights and obligations, how does an association solicit and select the best options for their community?
It’s sometimes very complicated, but hard work and the assistance of experts will likely garner rewards in the form of improved services and more competitive pricing options for the association. After all, for most associations, a bulk Cable/Internet service bill represents one of the largest financial expenditures for the association community. With this in mind, here are some basic steps an association may want to consider following in order to help make the best decisions for their community:
- The earlier an association begins reviewing their rights, obligations and options, the better. A good time to start the process is about +/- 24 months before the current agreement expires. An early start helps to ensure that your association won’t be rushed into making a service and/or agreement decision.
Solicit Multiple Proposals:
- Soliciting multiple proposals tends to give associations more negotiating power, which lends itself to providing for more choice, better pricing and service options. Plus, it also determines which options and providers can provide “viable” services and proposal options.
Get Expert Advice and Assistance:
- Telecom providers are the experts in their field, and they represent their own interests. Therefore, associations should consider obtaining assistance from professional experts to help “level the playing field” for the benefit of the association. The association’s legal counsel helps to ensure that proposed and final agreements meet the legal needs of the association. On the other hand, professional industry consultants, such as Broadband Agreements Specialists, Inc., are well equipped to assist your association with the project management, proposal solicitation, analysis, board education and service implementation processes.
Your association now has many potential options! Regulatory changes by the FCC, Florida state-wide video franchising, plus new technologies and increased competition from cable, satellite and telephone companies have created new opportunities for associations. Successfully seeking, evaluating and navigating these many options will be your reward, which has the potential to bring financial and service benefits to your association for many years to come!
Jay M. Abbazia, CAM & Florida CAM CEU Provider
Broadband Agreement Specialists, Inc.®
The article is intended for informational purposes only and should not in any way be relied upon as legal advice. Information in this article may not reflect recent developments or regulatory changes, and may contain errors or omissions. Broadband Agreement Specialists, Inc is not a law firm and does not provide legal advice. It is important and recommended that associations review all agreements and legal documents with qualified legal counsel for an accurate and legally reliable evaluation of rights and obligations. If an association has a legal question, it is recommended that they consult with qualified legal counsel. Broadband Agreement Specialists, Inc. © 2017
For additional information, please visit www.broadbandagr.com or give us a call at 954-889-1967 for a free no-obligation consultation.