Aug 18, 2011

Monkeybrains Internet in Dogpatch

When I moved into my current apartment in San Francisco's Dogpatch neighborhood, I invested considerable time and effort into getting Internet service from someone other than the incumbents - Comcast and AT&T.

Long story short, I feel that the current ISP oligarchy is hampering innovation in the United States and may put Net Neutrality at risk globally in the future. As it is, the US ranks 10th of 14 on the Government Broadband Index. If I, as an Internet Engineer, entrepreneur, open source contributor, etc, don't start using my dollars to upvote for more competition and transparency here, than who can I expect will?

After a month of searching, I found I waited 2 months (an eternity for a developer to not have Internet), paid for installation, and soon enough I had awesome, indie internet. They are fantastic - I gave them 5 stars on Yelp and they deserve 6. The speed is fast, cheap, with no contract, and I didn't have to sign up for 243 cable channels and a land line.

That is partially why I was so frustrated today to receive the final decision from my building's HOA:

"the current equipment must be removed from the property within 10 business days (by August 31st, 2011)"

A little while back I was informed:

"This equipment was installed without the permission of the HOA Board and is in violation of section 7.7 of the [redacted] HOA CC&Rs as outlined below"

Well, they were right. I didn't ask them to install it, and looking back I know I should have. The antenna is about 12" long and looks like a TV remote. It was small so I didn't think it was a big deal. There's 2 big satellite dishes up there already. But I was wrong to not ask, and I did apologize to the board.

I let the board know that I'd work with Monkeybrains to get the installation to within the HOA's regulations. I also let them know that since I had paid the installation fee, anyone in the building can now get this great high-speed Internet service for a nominal monthly fee. Someone in my building did not too long after. 

As it turned out, however, due to line-of-sight restrictions, we couldn't get the installation to be within the rules of the HOA. There is about 50' of CAT-5 crossing the roof in a section that is outside of the area that is accessible to residents, but it is visible nonetheless. According to Monkeybrains we aren't able to spool out more wire due to CAT-5 cable maximum lengths to carry signal (about 328ft). So I guess me and the other guy are out of luck.

Update: The HOA eventually changed their mind and I was able to keep Monkeybrains. Hooray!


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