Adding WiFi To My Park


#1

In my park there is little cell phone coverage and, apparently, AT&T only provides 12k dial-up…(!) One of my residents asked if I could call AT&T and have them install DSL - he figured since I was important (being the park owner and all), that I might have some ‘pull’ with the phone company. (NOT!) But God bless him for seeing me in that light. : )

This request gave me the thought that perhaps I could install a satellite dish and get WiFi broadcast throughout my park. I’m not sure whether I’d charge for it, or just give it away free as a park amenity.

Does anyone have experience installing WiFi? How much does it cost? Who can do it? What kind of repeaters and equipment might I need? Is ‘free WiFi’ even a good idea? Do tenants care about it?

Many thanks,

-Jefferson-


#2

I have satellite service in my home (I live in the boonies). The problem will be the speeds when multiple users are on. It’s not all that fast with just me, if you go to sharing it with multiple users it’s going to slow down considerably and there is a daily cap on downloads. I never come close to the cap with just me, but I don’t download much either. If you put very many users on there you will probably just get a lot of complaints for the speed by the time it goes through all the equipment and possibly reach download limits.

Sometimes the local phone companies will run DSL to a spot they don’t have it if a commitment is made to a minimum number of accounts.


#3

Hi Jefferson,

I think providing WiFi would be a great amenity for a rural park. Given that so many traditionally unemployable people make money selling on eBay, you might actually be helping your residents make a little extra money.

However, you probably won’t be able to give everyone a secure connection- so it would be easy for someone in the park, or someone driving by with a laptop to check in and grab some personal info like SSN, paypal account numbers, bank numbers, etc. What would your liability be? Personally I wouldn’t want to risk it.

I’d be more likely to try to arrange a group discount so that folks could individually sign up at a reduced rate.

good thinking,

Anne


#4

Jefferson,

I would have to agree with Anne. The extra amenity would likely not make up for the liability, cost, and extra hassle for you (especially with you managing the park from a distance). Most people are not going to think about the internet when they are moving into your park so it shouldn’t be a deterent to new move ins. And I just don’t see the wifi as being enough of a draw for the type of people that will be living in the park. (at least not enough to make sway their decision). I think if you are looking for something to draw people in or a reason to raise lot rents there are better, easier, and likely cheaper things.

I unfortunately know your situation all to well as I have only had high speed service for the last year after living in the boonies…

Jad


#5

Jefferson,

You say there is little cell phone service. Do you get cable there? Our cells don’t always work well here, but we do have a local cable company who we have our internet connection through.

I have no idea how many of our residents own computers, but I do know there is at least one wireless system in the area - sometimes our laptop hooks up with it instead of our secure system that is in the office, so we have to keep track of where we are connected. On the other hand, most of them own a big screen tv.

One of our tenants is getting ready to take her television down to basic and get rid of their internet because she is no longer working and applying for disability. (Believe me, we would much rather them do that than not pay lot rent and hosue payment!) I tend to think, however, that most do not have computers or internet. We only have two who pay by check; everyone else pays by money order. I think that is a gauge to the - shall I say sophistication - of our residents.

I won’t say that is the case overall - we have a teacher and some medical professionals living in the park. As I talk with residents I learn that several either have children attending college or their children have graduated. They, however, have always been blue collar workers and have not had any reason to approach today’s technology, or the money to do so since they were busy educating their children, hoping to give them better lives than they have had. I do believe, however, that as schools require young students to have more and more computer skills and to complete homework by computer the day will come where parents will see the usefulness of getting computers for their homes. As these same children grow up and some of them become our tenants, they will have computer skills that their parents lack.

So, bottom line is I totally agree with Anne. There could be liability. If they have a computer and want to get on-line, then they should just go ahead and use the dialup that is available. Hopefully by the time that everyone is looking for the service there will be one provided for your area.