Sunday, October 14, 2007

Internet Sharing

I moved into a co-op several months ago. It was freshly renovated by a developer, who walked away with a bundle and left us with limited reserve fund and a good sized monthly maintenance fee. As my neighbors and I have settled in, we've been constantly trying to figure out ways to save money while not sacrificing on services (ie getting rid of the doorman isn't on the list of possibilities - yet)

I've been thinking about various ways to try and save money and find myself intrigued by one in particular: shared internet.

Right now there are 42 units in my building. A few of them have very old tenants in them, who I doubt use internet, so I'm going to guess 30 units probably have a connection currently. I presume this costs ~$35/months (frankly I have no real idea, because Time Warner's website/statement provides no insight into the breakdown of charges between internet and tv) so I'm estimating the building spends ~$1,050/month on internet.

I have had little success in finding a internet provider in this area that is alright with multiple users. What I have found is a number of fairly confusing, very technical websites that seem to be implying the service I'm looking for (anyone have any insight into how much bandwidth 30 users would need? or where to find the right provider?) But from what I can discern this is availible for c.$200/months.

Once in the building, I think Meraki's product could work well with one repeater per floor (10 floors * $50 = $500 one time startup cost - spread over a year $40/month).

Based on these numbers, it seems that internet could be provided for $250/month. As such, the co-op could generate up to $750/month in additional revenues which could defray our costs. Plus the cost of maintenance (be it personal time, or hiring someone).

This is all very pie in the sky. has anyone had any luck with a similar setup? Or come across similar cost cutting methods for co-op living?

***update - no one had done it, so I figured why not try. Let me know if you have any tips***

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