Why do we have to pay for equipment in the Winter?


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Why do we have to pay for equipment not being used for seven months of the year?

Recently, a customer e-mailed us with this question.  Here is our response:

Very good question.  We have to buy bandwidth and the associated IP addresses (close to $3,000 per month) in sufficient amounts to meet the maximum number of subscribers, whether they're here or not.  Likewise, we have to pay FairPoint almost $20/month/subscriber.  So, even while the seasonal people are gone, our expenses continue.

Add to that the cost of power to the distribution center, insurance, workers comp, debt service, the cost of new modems for customers, maintenance contracts, contract labor, accounting, legal, utility taxes, roof rent in Portland, etc., etc. and the expenses add up.  Unfortunately, unlike our seasonal customers, they don't go away during the winter.  Beverly and I pick up the crumbs that are left, which works out to about $5/hr., or far less than minimum wage.  At times, we take no pay at all.

Were we to cancel the service with FairPoint during the off-season, we would have to pay a re-connection fee in the spring along with the cost of all the associated paperwork.   Plus we would risk delays in re-establishing service.

We really do try to make the Internet affordable for everybody and with a small subscriber base like we have on Chebeague, that's very difficult.  Which explains why GWI, FairPoint, Verizon, TimeWarner, Comcast and every other  Internet  provider in Maine have chosen to avoid Chebeague like the plague.  It would take somebody crazy to want to try this business on such a small island.  Therefore, chebeague.net.

I hope this answers your questions and thank you for letting me vent a few of my fiscal frustrations!


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