Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The wi-fi racket

This is not a novel idea and not one that I think is available to everyone.  But if, like me, you find yourself in the position to be able to do this, I think it is definitely worth the effort.

I'm talking about cutting down your wireless internet bill -- significantly -- by sharing a wireless signal with a neighbor.  I got the idea several years ago when my wife and I lived in a Hillcrest condominium and, through sheer luck*, my wife became condo president.  Well, at the time we were paying Comcast well over $100 per month in packaged internet and cable fees.  It was a ridiculous amount.  I am of the opinion that Comcast is a crap company that rapes consumers because there is not that much else out there for consumers to choose from**.  Anyway, it occurred to me that, due to the nature of wireless internet, there was no reason why eight different condo units each had to pay for their own internet.  So I went to Comcast, got the condo association set up on a business account, set up a main wireless internet modem and router and, viola!, all of a sudden each tenant's share of the internet costs was a small fraction of what they had been paying. 

When we later moved out of the condo into our house, I had to go back to setting up an individual account since there was no shared signal into which I could tap.  I opted for AT&T since there is no way I am ever going to do business with Comcast again short of a law mandating that I do so.  And, at $40 per month, it was manageable.  That is, until two weeks ago when my router went belly-up.  A replacement of course was going to run me $75 or so.  Of course.

It was then that I decided to approach my neighbor, with whom I was friends and who has been living next door for about a year now, with the proposition to share her existing internet signal.  The arrangement is easy -- I pay half her internet bill each month and she lets us tap into her wireless router.  She agreed and now my monthly internet bill is $12.50, or around one-third of what I had been paying***.

So, the moral of the story is Comcast sucks.

*  No one else wanted to do it.
**  You tell me why I have to pay for all the crap channels that I never watch just so I can get the handful that I do?  And I have to pay how much?  Be sure that this is a future blog post all its own.
***  For a savings of about $330 per year.  Not bad. 

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