Time for Chappy to get cable TV service


To the Editor:

Chappaquiddickers have waited long enough for cable service to Chappaquiddick.

For about 20 years Martha’s Vineyard has enjoyed cable television and broadband Internet service and yet, Chappaquiddick still has no service. Chappaquiddick residents must travel to every local board meeting to keep abreast of local affairs while others simply turn on their TV set. Watching their kids play in school sports on TV is not available on Chappaquiddick. Community television is not for the community on Chappaquiddick. Why not?

Although Chappaquiddick land owners pay 18 percent of Edgartown’s real estate tax assessment, somehow our properties are exempt from being hooked up to standard 21st century utility services. Is the 800 feet of Edgartown Harbor really stopping the billion dollar corporation Comcast from coming to Chappaquiddick?

Starting last November, NSTAR has been working to bring under-harbor conduits and new power cables to Chappaquiddick. The selectmen were pressed to offer a rapid path to permitting to get the new cable to Chappy, as the situation was dire.

After two months of delays at the ferry, tearing up to the roadway and total destruction of 100 feet of underground phone lines serving the entire island, the under-harbor tunnellers are back for a second try. The selectmen, NSTAR, and Comcast were all asked by residents of Chappaquiddick to please use this opportunity to bring a broadband cable to Chappaquiddick.

Now we are asking again to use this second opportunity to assure Chappaquiddick has the same services the other taxpayers of Edgartown have. The selectmen should sign permits for NSTAR’s second tunneling only with the assurance that NSTAR will provide to Comcast a conduit for broadband cable for a reasonable fee.

If withholding permits will not accomplish this simple arrangement, the selectmen should insist that the attorney negotiating with Comcast for the cable service find a way to get cable service to Chappaquiddick.

Comcast is being asked to provide many services to the Island of Martha’s Vineyard, but access to the cable, now 20 years after its intitial introduction to the island, should be its first priority.

I’m asking all of the interested parties to please work together to bring cable to Chappaquiddick, the sooner the better.

Roger Becker