President's Corner, Comcast, Garden Homes, Hotwire, Moors Master, Moors Pointe, Patio Homes, Townvillas, Village Homes

By Dave Graveline, The Moors Master Association President

The fact that you are taking the time to read this, suggests that YOU prefer to be informed and to know what is going on in our community. We appreciate that. You can always stay informed by reading our Moors newsletter and visiting our website often, as well as attending any Board meetings, including your Sub Association and the Master. It’s almost 2023 and there is no reason not to stay informed, especially with all the current digital tools available.

One of the many reasons that each of us bought into The Moors originally are the various amenities that our community offers. While we might not take advantage of each of them regularly—(for example, I might like to play tennis, but I don’t; I enjoy the pool, but have only used it once in the last 5 years; I’ve tried racquetball and I’m very bad at it; I should use our newly-equipped gym more often, but I don’t; etc.)—those amenities are a big part of what makes The Moors attractive.

I feel compelled to address the misinformation that was spread recently by some people taping notes on our neighbors’ doors, etc., that contained inaccurate and misleading information.

We all signed governing documents acknowledging that we would abide by our rules and regulations and we elected Sub and Master Board members to make decisions to maintain our property values and continue to keep The Moors inviting to others, especially in years ahead. Our property values will certainly suffer if we do not update our infrastructure. This will also affect owners trying to sell their homes in the future if we are not competitive with other communities.

I feel compelled to address the misinformation that was spread recently by some people taping notes on our neighbors’ doors, etc., that contained inaccurate and misleading information.

Over the last several months the members of your Master Board have undertaken the daunting task of tackling many of the community’s challenges, as we do always. Amongst the many items addressed; I would like to focus specifically on the board’s recent decision to engage and select a new telecommunications partner for The Moors Community upon the expiration of the current Comcast Agreement next November 2023.

The future of TV is changing. Over the next few years, TV providers will disappear to give way to Streaming only. A big part of this change is NextGenTV and Streaming. (I’ll have much more about the upcoming NextGenTV in a future column. Stay tuned). As a community we have to be ready for when this happens. Our top priority is making sure we finally have a new Fiber Optic infrastructure to be able to have the best Internet signal for streaming as well as delivering our current TV entertainment needs. Keeping all of this in mind, we solicited proposals from several companies in our open Master Board meetings. There were many factors to consider when reviewing the proposals. One of the most important was being able to drop the TV portion of the contract once the TV providers cease to exist, during our contract. At that time we would stay with Internet only and see what options streaming providers offer.

I would like to start by reiterating to all the members of our community that being a Board Member of a Homeowner’s Association comes with a serious fiduciary duty; one that each member of this current Board takes seriously. No better testament to that oath can be made than how the board navigated the multiple proposal process and extensive vetting that took place of all the bidders during our due diligence phase. Despite the innuendos, slanderous statements, and to be frank, the hard to believe conspiracy theories which have been circulating; the decision to engage with the company we decided on was one that was done after meticulous consideration of the bids, their references, and the overwhelming data in support of the change. The board deliberated, motioned, and voted to approve a new Vendor as our newest telecommunications partner. A decision that I and your Board wholeheartedly stand behind.

Over several months, the Moors Master Board (and many residents that were present) have seen and considered presentations from BlueStream FiberHotwire, Breezeline (formerly Atlantic Cable) and Comcast as they all presented their formal Proposals during our open and scheduled meetings. In spite of our continued requests, AT&T refused to provide any proposal for TV at all (implying that Cable TV is dying) and also chose not to even provide us with a price for bulk Internet, following repeated requests. Frankly, I have been a satisfied AT&T Internet customer from the very beginning of their fiber service here and would have loved to engage with them to better benefit our community. But alas, they ignored our efforts.

As a reminder, your Master Board had been pouring over initial responses from our online residents survey—posted over 6 months ago—about the upcoming end of our last 5-year Comcast Cable TV contract. The vast majority of our residents, 71% wanted to switch TV providers, 22% wanted to keep Comcast, and 7% were “unsure”.

Some Master Board members were “fine” with Comcast, however the Board voted 4 to 2 to make some changes to our TV service and add Internet. The Board’s decision was based on the fact that streaming TV services keep breaking records. More and more people are getting most of their TV entertainment via various streaming platforms.

Hotwire vs Comcast

Any new TV and Internet costs would not even begin until 2024

The average that our residents are spending on Internet is between $75-$100 each month. The average spend for streaming services by Moors residents is $35-$50 per month.

As I mentioned in my previous “President’s Corner” article, this was the first time ever that we had several options available to us—other than just Comcast. Especially—for those informed—all of the previous promises for the past 3 multi-year renewals with Comcast, still were not fulfilled! These requested competitive proposals were all in our efforts to provide our Moors residents with the best value, one of your Board’s goals is asking the five (5) interested vendors to provide bids for:

a) Cable TV
b) Internet only; and
c) Both

The current Comcast Cable contract expires in November 2023—giving us just barely enough time to select a company and allow them to begin their fiber install.

We ultimately were looking at actually saving most residents about $40 a month by combining TV and Internet with a new contract with one of the vendors. Each of them have told us that they need “10 to 12 months” for their build-out in order to install fiber optics in our community, except for Comcast which stated that they would take much longer.

Most residents have asked us to consider an Internet bulk package with some streaming services, all local channels, the main basic cable channels, and let our residents choose other optional services that they may desire. (For example; additional channels, premium channels, increased speeds, etc.) Currently, the average Moors resident is paying from $50 upwards to $150+ each month for their average Internet and streaming services.

The current Comcast Cable contract expires in November 2023—giving us just barely enough time to select a company and allow them to begin their fiber install.

Showtime channels

As for the multiple Showtime channels that we have had with our last Comcast Cable contract… only a very few respondents (3) mentioned that they watch the included Showtime channels. And now, according to the Wall Street Journal: “Paramount Global is planning to discontinue its Showtime streaming service and shifting its content into Paramount+—a move that would streamline the company’s offerings amid a crowd of competitors. Complex talks with cable and satellite TV providers that offer the Showtime TV channels are ahead”.

Our options and costs

The range of costs from the initial vendor bids (including Hotwire, BlueStream, Breezeline, and Comcast) for a bulk package are as follows:

  • Internet & TV from $65 to $76 each month
  • Internet only from $35 to $55 each month
  • TV Only. No vendor offered this option any longer, as the industry is moving away from that model.

The above ranges being the case for the majority of The Moors residents, it appears that we can save our Residents AT LEAST $40+ each month if we combine both in a bulk deal. If you’re not convinced about the savings, I invite you to compare what any non-bulk rates cost these days, as it’s often more than double!

This recent comment from one of our residents, sums up what the bulk of our fellow Moors neighbors have been saying: “I believe that the majority of the residents would much rather benefit from Internet vs cable.”

We know that no matter what your Master Board often has to decideeven after all these months of presentations and discussionswe cannot make everyone happy, however with the first time in our history that we have optionsincluding the ability to add Internet and allow our residents to pay for whateverif any— additional premium channels or streaming services they might desire, we feel that we will save the vast majority of our residents a considerable amount of money each month with a bulk TV and Internet package.

The Board is actively working with Hotwire Communication’s leadership to arrange a series of events and townhalls which will provide the opportunity for all the residents who did not previously attend the meetings, to be further informed and have their questions fully addressed.

After the Board eliminated other vendors for various reasons (including price, availability of channels, up and down Internet speeds, fiber practices and services, references, experience with similar properties (not just high-rises, availability of providing all LOCAL Channels, time to install and properly wire the community, etc.), and after asking EACH potential vendor to review and deliver their “best and final” bids, our decision basically boiled down to two companies and this comparison of just SOME of the issues:

Hotwire vs Comcast comparison

Monthly Rates for TV and Internet

  • Hotwire: $65.99
  • Comcast: $71.75

Door Fees

This is a one-time fee paid by the vendor, for accepting their proposal to do business with them. This fund goes to your Master Association to decide how those finances are best utilized. Note the possible community door fee fund usage below *.

  • Hotwire: $500 per unit plus 3 months complimentary service
  • Comcast: $200 per unit, no complimentary service

Ability to eliminate the TV Costs in future years

  • Hotwire: After 5 years, with larger discounts in subsequent years if decision is delayed
  • Comcast: No specific mention of being able to delete the TV costs

Comcast would also not commit to installing fiber (replacing the old, embedded 35+ year coax cable that many residents have had issues with) for “at least 2 years”. Further investigation suggested that it would be more like “4 to 5 years”.

Hours of DVR Storage

  • Hotwire: 200 Hours
  • Comcast: 20 Hours

100% US employee call centers and dedicated account managers

  • Hotwire: Yes
  • Comcast: No

Years in business

  • Hotwire: 20
  • Comcast: 57

Service for our offices, gym, and common areas, including Wi-Fi

  • Hotwire: No charge
  • Comcast: We would pay as we have

Agreement Term

  • Hotwire: 7 years, +3 years auto renewal if desired
  • Comcast: 10 years

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Hotwire Communications highlights

For those interested in more detail, below is a high-level overview of the highlights which overwhelmingly were the additional drivers behind the selection of Hotwire Communications.

  • The Hotwire Technology Center (186,000 sq. ft facility in South Florida) was a clear differentiator among the bidders. Their category 5, Level 4 building infrastructure, business continuity, and disaster recovery protocols were impressive and proved to be the caliber of operational facility that can support the needs of a community as large and robust as The Moors. Important to note that our current provider has never opened up the opportunity for us to tour their Master Headend facility. However Hotwire opens their HTC for tours to clients or prospective clients any time.
  • They are continuously ranked #1 by Netflix; Awarded the fastest Internet Service Provider (2022) by PC Magazine in the Southeast US (our current provider came in 5th place and the other bidders came in 6th and one was not even ranked).
  • They will be building a 100% Fiber-to-the-Home infrastructure throughout our entire Moors Community with diverse fiber paths entering the community, on their own wholly-owned network. This was something (the complete end-to-end Fiber service) that none of the other providers, including our current provider, would offer us.
  • The significant investment in infrastructure for our community was one that some of the bidders were unwilling to commit to. The Hotwire 100% fiber-to-the-home deployment and community fiber backbone will fully upgrade The Moors’ infrastructure from day one, making every home in the community “smart and IoT (Internet of Things) capable”… Each home will be able to access symmetrical Internet speeds ranging from 400/400Mbps to 10Gigabit from day one.
  • All of our community common areas will be installed with Enterprise level services on a complimentary basis. Currently with our current provider we pay for commercial services every month. This represents a significant and incredible savings to the association.
  • The best in class “Service Level Agreement” that they provide is part of the overall signed contract and ensures the standards of service are clearly defined. These commitments provide protections to The Moors, with built in remedies in the event of any failures or service issues.
  • The bulk offering calls for symmetrical internet speeds of 400mbps download and 400mbps upload. Comcast could not only not match these speeds, but more importantly could not provide the dedicated, non-shared speed guarantee and providing a much, much slower upload speed.
  • The bulk agreement has protections for The Moors which ensure that we are on the cutting edge of technology and speeds throughout the term of the agreement. Unlike our current provider’s agreement, we have been left behind for many years.
  • The provider incentives that were committed to our community will provide The Moors the ability to enhance the standards in the community for the benefit of the residents. The offering comes with a consideration of a very helpful “Door Fee” as well as three months of complete complimentary service to the entire community which will provide additional significant budgetary benefits. In addition, with the very competitive TV & Internet monthly bulk rate that we secured for our residents, the monthly out-of-pocket savings for the residents will be significant. Keep more of your hard-earned money in your pocket!
  • Hotwire will provide us with a dedicated onboarding launch team, post-launch dedicated account management team, 24/7/365, U.S. based customer service centers and a highly interactive Moors community channel with a Hotwire Customer App.

Door fee possible uses *

Some of the items that the Master Board is considering using portions of the door fee for, to help fund include:

  • Reduce somewhat, the first year Hotwire costs
  • Finally get the tot lot redone
  • Salon room bathrooms remodeling
  • Funding towards Mediterranean Blvd resurfacing
  • 4th of July celebration. Possibly a drone light show or fireworks
  • Your ideas?

In closing, I fully understand and can appreciate many of the members reservations on the Board’s decision to move away from Comcast. To that end, the Board is actively working with Hotwire Communication’s leadership to arrange a series of events and townhalls which will provide the opportunity for all the residents who did not previously attend the meetings, to be further informed and have their questions fully addressed. During these events the Hotwire team will explain the technology, the fiber-to-the-home deployment, installation procedures, the fiber backbone and its benefits to the community, and the in-unit residential experience.

Rest assured that the Board of Directors has done its due diligence in all aspects of the RFP process (vetting, tour, community counsel redlining and reviewing and making changes to the agreement etc.), and we are confident that the decision that was made to select and hire Hotwire Communications as our telecommunications partner was the correct one.

On behalf of the board of directors of The Moors, we thank you for your continued support.

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