Let us also assume that the Town is just looking to break even and that the subscriber fee is fixed at $50. According to the grant, the fee is supposed to be fixed at $50; however, this has been disputed. We will return to this later. Let us also assume, in the absence of a reason to think otherwise, that the Town's $14,400 revenue expectation is what the Town needs to break even in the absence of paying for an operator.
Based on the Supervisor's revenue expectations for 2019, if spread equally over each of the 12 months, the system would need to produce at least $1,200 in revenue per month. This expectation comes before figuring in Rainmaker's service fee of 50%. This requires at least 24 full time dedicated subscribers paying $50 dollars each month.
If the Town accepts Rainmaker's proposal and commits to paying him 50% of the subscriber fees, then in order to maintain the Supervisor's $14,400 revenue expectations, the system would need to generate double the supervisor's expectation. If 50% of the fees go to Rainmaker, that brings the effective rate for the Town down to $25 per month.
This would then require, keeping with our assumptions in the beginning, at minimum 48 subscribers all paying $50 dollars a month for a total of $28,800, so that the Town maintains its $14,400 expectation of revenue and satisfies Rainmaker's proposal. This means that the system would need to generate in total $2,400 per month instead of the current $175. This is assuming that the needed subscribers are on the system by the end of this month and consistently pay from January through to December of 2019.
With last month’s revenues being merely $175, without having payed for an operator, what is the basis for the Supervisor's expectation of being able to support not only the system but also Rainmaker's proposed fee? The Supervisor has not been particularly open to the idea of doing a survey of potential subscribers which would give her and the Town a better idea of whether these already very optimistic expectations could in fact be met; preferring to rely on a survey done years ago before the system fell victim to political intrigue and subject to third party competition. The Supervisor has also not had a history of being accepting of the idea that she or the Town should do any kind of advertising for the system either. What are her reasons for maintaining these expectations and how is the Town supposed to meet them?
It has already been suggested by the Supervisor that the subscriber fee could be raised to compensate. Let us then examine what this might mean for subscribers. Keeping with the assumption of only 4 current users, derived from November's revenue, then in order to support this $28,800 need; each of these four subscribers would need to individually pay at least $600 dollars each month in 2019, twelve times their current subscriber fee. $300 per month, six times the current fee, in order to maintain the Supervisor's expectations assuming Rainmaker's proposal is rejected.
The possibility of people using Whitespace without paying has also been suggested for a while now; so let us now then imagine a scenario to test out the possibility of various numbers of potential paying subscribers with a variable subscriber fee. In order to maintain the expectations and keep the fee at $50; then 48 subscribers are needed at the minimum, anything less and the fee would begin to increase. With the current presumed 4; the fee would be $600 with Rainmaker each month, $300 without Rainmaker.
Let us imagine that there are 10 people actively using the system in addition to the 4 paying users. The number 10 was chosen arbitrarily. Assuming that all 14 immediately become paying subscribers in January and stay with the system; then they could be looking at a fee of about $86 dollars a month without Rainmaker, $172 a month with Rainmaker, just for internet service.
If you accept a variable subscriber fee; then the only way to raise $14,400 in revenue and pay Rainmaker 50% of the fees, all while maintaining a $50 fee, there would need to be at minimum 48 paying subscribers at all times.If the fee remains fixed at $50, then the only way to break even would be to have 48 subscribers at all times. With at best only 4 paying subscribers as of last month and now many subscribers already having left Whitespace for competitors, what are the reasons behind these expectations of the Supervisor?