The pace of construction here is incredibly fast, plus with the recent approval of the development to add 17,000 people to the area. It’s all putting a huge strain on the sorely lacking existing infrastructure – water, sewage, electricity, roads and internet. Riberas del Pilar, the largest community on Lake Chapala has no sewage treatment plant. Water quality is bad enough in all of Mexico, but the quality of Lake Chapala is very suspect. Residents in Riberas del Pilar describe the water coming out of their taps as the color of chocolate syrup! One resident described how they end up standing in raw sewage in their shower! How gross!CFE does a terrible job of supplying electricity on a regular basis. The power goes out for hours on end and sometimes days. The grid is so poorly designed that when they do any work anywhere they need to shut down the entire system. All of these new developments, particularly in areas that already suffer from poor electricity supply, are not going to be able to handle the increased demand. One new development of some twenty-four condo townhouses on Ramone Corona was not even aware of all the problems that exist now. Again, in Riberas del Pilar, there is a row of houses under construction. Large homes with large electricity needs. Do the buyers know that they are going to have long periods of no power? Doubtful.
Another major issue here in Lakeside has been the third-world, pathetically slow, internet speeds available. If you have internet at all you might get speeds of 2 Mbps. Useless for anything. Often it is so slow it is worse than dial-up. Telmex is one of the most poorly run companies this writer has ever dealt with. Internet was vastly better in places like Panama and Ecuador, often referred to as third-world countries. Telmex is not only slow, but it also goes out for hours or days on end. In my own situation the existing internet, which went up and down all day like the proverbial toilet seat, and was unbelievably slow when it was up, was not good enough for my website work. In August of last year I contracted for my own 20 Mbps service. I got nothing but lies and excuses from Telmex. The installation contractor finally showed up this week. I asked if he was here to install my 20 Mbps service. He laughed and said the best I would get was 5 Mbps so I asked him why I would pay for 20 Mbps service? He had no answer. He connected the new modem to the phone line that I told him was dead and needed to be reactivated, but he said I would have internet in five minutes. On a dead line? Seriously? How stupid can they be?
All is not lost though. A new company, ilox, who have internet and phone service in and around Guadalajara, are coming. They just opened their office in Ajijic and they will be expanding their service area over the next few months. They are using fiber optic cabling so they offer 30 Mbps to homes, and up to an incredible 350 Mbps to businesses. If you pay by credit card they will waive the 399 peso installation fee, plus your service will be upgraded, for example, from 30 Mbps to 40 Mbps. Everyone in Lakeside is anxious to get this service level. It will be the death of Telmex because they have done nothing to offer fiber optic services except put posters on their Infinitum boxes. They don’t have the money to contract for fiber optics so they will soon be gone.
The planning process here is much different than in more developed countries, plus there is clear evidence that corruption has been involved in the approval process. The much-touted apartments that were going to be built in the Tepalo Falls area, destroying what should be a national reserve, has faced huge opposition and the new mayor states that no development will ever occur there. Despite the horrible location, there is a huge and growing need for apartments here in Lakeside. The only one under development, the one on the lakeshore in La Floresta, has been issued a stop work order because it is too many stories. Housing availability, especially rentals, is in crisis. Greedy landlords have been doubling or even tripling rents and refusing to return damage deposits. Part of the rental shortage is blamed on airbnb because owners can make more money renting short-term than they can long-term. Maybe as in many other communities, airbnb should be limited or banned completely.