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MVnet-6: Communications Packages for Residents

Wm Magill - June 24, 2018

Note from Administration

Communications Packages for Residents (as presented in the Village Living magazine, June 2018)

Mark Eyer, director of retirement living

We have been asked to develop affordable and easy to use communication packages so you may efficiently communicate and connect with others. We are working hard to accommodate these requests, and I would like to provide you with an update.

Communications Packages

We will be able to offer all retirement living residents a choice of two communication packages.

The first communication package will provide our campus' Internet service, which we call "MVnet." It will also include the same cable and phone service we currently offer with free long distance calls made in the United States. Choosing this package will also provide you with access to K4 automation. In the near future, you will have the option to purchase smart home devices for your home, including light switches, thermostats, garage door openers, door locks and more. You will be able to control these devices through the use of the Village Connect Portal. The total cost for this communication package is $139 and will be billed on your monthly statement.

The second communication package is the same as the first package, except there is no phone service included. The cost for the second package is $129 and will also be billed monthly.

We hope to have all of the infrastructure work in place for these packages, so we will be able to offer them both to all retirement living residents by the end of the year. Due to the size of this project, we will be rolling out this service systematically across campus. We will provide updates to each of the areas we are working in and offer information sessions, enabling you to choose the package that is best for you.

Village Connect Portal

The Village Connect portal provides a way staff can connect with residents, as well as a way for residents to connect with each other and their families. If you haven't tried the portal or haven't used it for a while, now would be a good time to take a look. K4 Connect, who we partnered with to create the portal, has made some great improvements. You are now able to put in work requests directly from the portal. We have also added many resources, photos, project updates and more. There is no cost to use Village Connect, so why not give it a try? If you would like to register, contact Margaret Doherty, retirement living administrative assistant, at ext 14504.

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Commentary and discussion

Miscellaneous notes

  • The first communications package is what Xfinity (Comcast) and Verizon refer to as a "Triple-Play" package. Also known as "Data, Voice, and Video."
  • There is no email account involved with MVnet, i.e. with the Communication Packages.
    If you are a current user of "comcast.net" email services, you can continue to use them. Otherwise, it is recommended that you switch to a free email service such as Gmail or Apple's iCloud.
  • The Village Connect Portal also does not provide any email capabilites.
  • Do not confuse MVnet with K4 monitoring, the Village Portal, or K4 Connect Smart Home devices. While all are enabled by MVnet (i.e. Internet access), they are all different entities.
  • See: Technical Blog article: K4-13 - Installation of K4 boxes campus-wide for the justification and explanation of the K4-Box.
  • The Village Connect Portal does NOT require a MVnet subscription to use. It is completely free, only requiring that you register with Margaret Doherty in the Retirement Living office, and Internet access. While the Portal can be used with the K4Community WiFi network and an appropriate device, it can also be used with any WiFi network, such as MVGuest or MVResident or your own Xfinity network, using any smart phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop. While it can be used with Windstream DSL that speed is really too slow to effectively use the Portal.
  • A Help Desk will be available from 07:30 AM to 4:00 PM, Monday thru Friday.

Cost comparison

  • There are no separate equipment charges involved.
  • During the initial installation offering (rollout), the $45 installation fee and first month fee are waived.
  • In 2018, Residents pay $55 for cable-tv and $32 for phone service (total $87) per month on their Monthly MV Invoice.
  • Subtracting $87 from $139, we find that MVnet is costing $52 per month.
    This is approximately $10 less than Xfinity Performance Internet at $61.95, if you have your own Modem and Router.
    Or approximately $22 less when you rent the modem and router from Xfinity, which adds $11.66 (with tax) - $73.61.
  • Note that Xfinity Performace Internet is offered at $39.99 (plus $11.66, tax and equipment rental) per month for one year to new customers. At the end of the year, that price jumps up to $61.95 + $11.66 modem rental+tax (tl $73.61), if you do not provide your own equipment - i.e. modem and router.

Speed comparison

  • Xfinity Performance Internet now provides 60 Mbps Download and 5 Mbps upload speeds.
  • MVnet is designed to provide "comparable speed" but no numbers have been given.
  • GuestMVnet is a bandwith limited network.

Interacting with Xfinity

It is important to understand that the Masonic Village at Elizabethtown is a Bulk Reseller of Xfinity (Comcast) Cable-TV services. The Video component of the communications package is the same Xfinity (Cable-TV) component you have been receiving for $55 per month on your monthly Masonic Village statement. It consists of (as described by Xfinity) - TV: Digital Starter Provided by your community, Includes Limited Basic, Expanded Basic with 1st TV Box and Remote - currently this package includes 140 channels. These 140 channels include a number of High Definition (HD) channels. However, to view them, you need to purchase(rent) a HD set-top box from Xfinity. The "standard" MV cable box will not decode them. This box will be separately billed to you by Xfinity. It will not appear on your monthly Masonic Village Maintenance charge! This is also true of any other "add-on" video services which you purchase from Xfinity - additional tiers of programming, Premium Channels (HBO, Starz, Showtime, etc.), a DVR, or the Voice Remote, for examples. It does NOT apply to the purchase of Xfinity Internet service.

Note especially: When you are dealing with Xfinity Customer Service, be certain to inform them that you are a Bulk Account Customer at the Masonic Village in Elizabethtown. When you do that you will receive credit on your Xfinity bill for the $55 you pay to the Masonic Village as part of your monthly statement.