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Comments on news posted 2013-03-12 14:36:12: Back in 2007 you might recall that there were a lot of complaints about OpenBand, a provider of broadband to housing developments in Loudoun County, Virginia. ..

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Washington, IL

One possible solution is

Breach of Contract - for provider's failure at providing reasonable service and support, to 1000's of their customers.


Opelika, AL


Reminds me of Cable TV of East Alabama and Mr. Greene's coziness with the city council.

I feel sorry for those live in Smiths Station/Phenix City.


Baltimore, MD
reply to Bob61571

Re: One possible solution is

said by Bob61571:

Breach of Contract - for provider's failure at providing reasonable service and support, to 1000's of their customers.

That's assuming there is even a standing agreement on a viable service level.



Almost barfed when I heard 150$ monthly bill. OMG, people should be smacking the faces of whoever signed these exclusive bills. What kind of moron allows a company to not just slave themselves, but their future offspring to a company. Corporations are practically slave traders pulling that crap.

Heavy Artillery For The Little Guy
Tulsa, OK

They had a great deal (OpenBand)

... all they had to do was not drop the ball entirely and not be so greedy.

Fail. I hope the people win and OpenBand has to issue refunds. (And thus goes out of business because I'm sure the owners already pocketed all of it.)
"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power." -- Benito Mussolini

I'm thinking they've 86'd any future business anyway, once word gets out of this crazy trap they made. Who would want to do business with any company comfortable enough to provide substandard service at exhorbitant rates?

Respice, Adspice, Prospice
Onion, NJ
reply to Probitas


$150 triple play is not bad.


Brooklyn, NY
·Optimum Online
·Verizon FiOS

Smell test

A MONOPOLY contract the community can't agree to unreasonable advantages by the monopoly or else it won't hold up in court and if they did it will be set aside and end up a worthless piece of paper. The $150 out clause should have had some reasonable QOS levels maintened by this monopoly or they should have never agreed to this in the first place. The FCC, FTC and DOJ along with state attorney's general's offices have legal authority over telecom and ANY services rendered over "LAST MILE" telecommunications. So unless those signals are sent by carrier pigeon they don't know what they're talking about.


Chesterfield, MO

Did Local Reps Screw Citizens?

I don't like extremely long-term agreements like this and I would never encourage my local representatives to back such agreements. However, if this was an under served area with no HSI because heavy infrastructure investment was needed, it may have seemed like a good idea with mutual benefit. OpenBand incurs debt or uses existing capital to invest in connecting these areas in exchange for an exclusive deal that enables them to repay the debt or earn a greater return on their capital investment.

However, signing such a deal for an extremely long period doesn't seem equitable for customers. I could see a long-term deal (25 years) where every five years the incumbent has first right to an extension. However, there has to be some detailed measurable specifics that they must fulfill to be guaranteed a continuance. The specifics should also have a clause to make sure they remain technologically relevant (modern).

This would be similar to a deal where a sports team agrees a long term stadium lease with the option to exit every five years if the stadium owner does not keep the venue modernized.

Although I don't have specifics, whatever the deal is, it doesn't seem like the local representatives protected their constituents from non performance. Regarding whether or not the government should be involved -- this is a case of "legal" monopoly, right? Therefore the government (i.e. the FCC) should provide a framework under which deals like this can be fruitful for companies and customers. There has to be a way to force a forfeit the investment if the company does not live up to the terms of the franchise.


Miami, FL

1 recommendation

Bait & Trap

This is why I would never live in a association.

Frederick, MD
reply to rradina

Re: Did Local Reps Screw Citizens?

Wouldn't it be normal for the developer or communities to take bids?

Cabin John, MD
reply to AVD


The quality of the product that is delivered for the $150 must be taken into consideration.
Apparently numerous customers are greatly dissatisfied with the product that is delivered.

Squire James
reply to Probitas
Add "a few" in front of that word "corporations" and I agree with you. Corporations in general are in reality no more evil (and no less evil) than the people who control them. If the government wouldn't accept these deals, the corporations wouldn't propose them.


reply to Probitas
Better yet, what kind of moron moves into these neighborhoods?

Squire James

Stupid Housing Tricks

Those housing communities strike me as people with more dollars than sense. This wouldn't be the only crazy phenomena related to housing that happened during that time...

reply to AVD


Looked like they just did internet to me. And even if it WAS for phone, internet, and tv, allowing customers to seek other providers for two services but trap them into paying 150 is no deal at all, particularly if they offered hamburger for services but charged for prime rib.


Requirements of a contract...

One of the legal requirements of a contract like this to be valid is that there needs to be a way to severe the contract by either party. Without those terms, the contract isn't enforcable.

And agreed, anyone who signed a 25-75 year term contract for communications services needs their head examined. Even 10 years ago, I wouldn't sign anything longer than a 3 year even if it included build outs.


Eatonville, WA
reply to battleop


Having lived in Leesburg, VA for 4 years I can tell you what kind of moron lives there. Ones with more money than sense. The average price of a home there is 700K+ with many of them going for well over a million.

If you can afford a home at that price, $150 a month is pocket change.


San Jose, CA

How bad is it?

I went to their web-site, and they claim to offer 100Mbps service. Is that not the case? How bad is it?


Bronx, NY

LMAO We angry at the Customers and they

ARE GOING TO TAKE IT AND LIKE IT MORE". Wow only a stupid greedy @ss company will do this crap. I hope they lose the case and get sued by the customers

Mr Matt

Eustis, FL
·Embarq Now Centu..

Similar lawsuit filed in Palm Beach County, Florida

Similar lawsuit filed in Palm Beach County, Florida. Plaintiff lost.

In the late 60's Texaco Properties established Boca Del Mar and reserved exclusive rights to provide cable television. Texaco claimed exclusive rights to use the utility easements for installation of CATV lines by their CATV company West Boca Cable.

Homeowners were subject to the same arbitrary prohibition of outdoor antennas of any kind through deed restrictions.

Around the mid 1980's a company named Telesat began to install competitive cable lines. West Boca Cable sued Telesat claiming exclusive rights to use the utility easements for CATV installation via contractual language created by Texaco Properties in Texaco's filing for creation of a planned unit development.

The result was that West Boca Cable lost. Homeowners lost and Telesat lost.

West Boca Cable lost because the court determined that Telesat was a utility and could use any and all easements.

Homeowners lost because as a result of the decision Homeowners were required to pay franchise fees to the county.

Telesat lost because there was no database that showed where utility easements were abandoned by all utilities. Once the abandonment documents were recorded on the deed it could not be reversed. Contractors attempting to install CATV lines found things like pools and structures in the easements and when they threatened to remove a pool deck the police got involved with Telesat contractors told to get lost, the easement was abandoned. Telesat gave up with their efforts and sold off the plant they had already installed at bargain basement prices to West Boca Cable.

Openband might have a problem enforcing their contracts. Remember that the FCC and Congress passed the satellite reception act which declared all deed restrictions prohibiting the installation of Satellite or over the air antennas unenforceable.


Superior, WI
reply to Probitas


When i go to buy a house, if it was in a development like that, the first question I would ask would be about ISPs, and who I can get, what I can get, and if there is an agreement like this. If there was an agreement such as this in place, I would move on.


it was the developer that signed the deal

it was the developer who signed the deal with this company. this has nothing to do with local politicians. the deal was that the developer gets a piece of the revenue each month for the length of the contract. this type of deal was becoming common across the country prior to the real estate crash. there were all kinds of crazy deals the developers were working out for themselves to keep them earning revenues long after they finished building neighborhoods.

reply to Mr Matt

Re: Similar lawsuit filed in Palm Beach County, Florida

Then what you are saying is that there is already a public court case on file stating that cable tv is considered a utility, and then it must follow that ALL cable, ISP, or mobile services can be considered utilities and should be regulated....nicely done.



Loudoun County's Internet

Loudoun county is one of the wealthiest and fastest growing counties in the nation, yet the county supervisors have signed sweetheart agreements with telco that allow then to cherry-pick and have left large areas of the county without Internet access. I live 50 miles from the white house in DC, yet have only a choice of dial-up or satellite. (I should have asked before buying, but never thought that this area would be completely without Internet - I'm in not in an unpopulated area.) I have FIOS 1/4 mile away, yet not even cable or DSL in my neighborhood.

Windermere, FL
reply to Bob61571

Re: One possible solution is

Another solution, send in Google. They are looking for another "test" bed...


Chesterfield, MO
reply to brawney

Re: Did Local Reps Screw Citizens?

Probably the community should accept bids. The developer probably only cares about:

1) Are my properties more attractive if they are wired?
2) If #1 is true, do I have to share costs with someone to wire them or will they pay for the opportunity?

Obviously if providers are willing to pay developers to wire their properties, #1 doesn't matter. Without rules, the developer will seek the highest return to wire the properties.

Regardless of bids, IMO a "utility" is being created -- a legal monopoly. As such, the government should provide a framework for the agreement and the necessary oversight to protect both parties. I say both parties because if the incumbent is meeting expectations, it isn't fair to have the community pull their franchise because a new startup is offering the moon. It also isn't fair to have a reasonable rate increase -- again if the incumbent is meeting expectations and can demonstrate their costs have risen.

One thing is clear. In the absence of good rules, someone is going to get screwed. It's in our selfish nature as human beings.


Santa Monica, CA
·Time Warner Cable

Bring on the damage awards...

You can't have your cake, and eat it too.

The community wanted broadband, so they sought a vendor to provide it, and the vendor took the risk on the investment. Now that their system is aging, they want to abrogate the agreement.

How do you think an MDU vendor finances the massive cost of broadband, if they can't bond a group of homeowners for 25 years plus?


Los Angeles, CA

lesson about buying a house lol

Now i know beofre buying a house in certain area, i have to see if there's any agreement about ISP or cable provider, I would hate myself having to pay 2 bills for 1 usable service, not just about $ but i just hate these kind of shady deal they pulled together.

Homer J
Mmmm, Free Goo

reply to Probitas


If I recall, the developer signed the original agreement. They probably got paid handsomely by the provider for the right to exclusivity as well as the right to provide crappy service.