Virginia Suburb Experiencing Monopoly Headaches

Six years ago, a new housing development in Loudoun, VA decided to build an FTTH network as a part of their neighborhood of luxury homes. Today, they're regretting every bit of that decision. Where they went wrong was signing a 75-year contract with a no-name company that has done a poor job of providing reliable services to the point that many residents now use satellite dishes for both TV and broadband. The rub is that even if they don't use the frequently flaky service, they still shell out $150 a month in HOA fees for the service.

There's not much of a chance of firing Open Band, the company providing the services. The developer has a sweet deal in which they will maintain a majority control of the HOA for 20 years after the completion of the development, a period up to 10 times longer than standard. With the developer, Van Metre, getting tons of money from Open Band, there's almost no chance at residents being able to take action until 2028 at the earliest. It sounds like these homeowners would've been better off letting Verizon and Comcast come to town. At least then they'd have some semblance of competition.

(See full articles here and here.) 

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