Comcast ignores Chappy

To the Editor:

Comcast spokesman Marc Goodman said the following in the September 1 edition of The Martha’s Vineyard Times: “Our strategy as a company has always been to roll out new technologies across our entire network. As a result of that approach, people on Martha’s Vineyard have access to the same Internet speeds as people in Boston on the same fiber-rich network. And we are committed to keeping our customers on Martha’s Vineyard on the forefront on the latest technology.”

Apparently Mr. Goodman is not aware that Chappaquiddick residents, who are Vineyard homeowners and taxpayers, are not included in Comcast’s fiber-rich strategy playbook.

Chappaquiddick residents have been struggling for over a year to get Comcast and the Edgartown selectmen’s attention to the absence of cable TV and reliable Internet coverage to Chappy. While negotiations have been ongoing in every Vineyard town on a new 10-year Comcast contract, Chappaquiddick residents, who are homeowners, taxpayers, and voters in Edgartown, are ignored and treated like non-entities.

As a result, we have addressed the following open letter to Brian L. Roberts, chairman and CEO of the Comcast Corporation. We would appreciate a response from Mr. Roberts.

“As the chief executive of a large communications network, you can appreciate the importance of having access to 21st century technology. As a homeowner on Martha’s Vineyard you can also appreciate how important that technology is to both seasonal as well as year-round residents.

“Comcast currently does not serve many areas of the Island, leaving them without high-speed Internet access. Adelphia, the island’s cable service provider prior to Comcast, obtained a contract exempting them from the obligation of providing service to Chappaquiddick. We on Chappaquiddick as well as other areas of the Island are very concerned that history is about to repeat itself.

“During a recent Island-wide meeting with communications representatives of the Island’s towns, Comcast representatives provided a detailed list of all the homes on Martha’s Vineyard without current access to cable service and the estimated cost to those residents for obtaining it. There was not a single Chappaquiddick home on the list.

“NSTAR has recently replaced conduits Comcast could easily use for passing cable to Chappaquiddick from Edgartown. We have been told for many months that Comcast is in negotiation with NSTAR about obtaining access to these conduits, some of which are unused. Thus far no contracts have been signed by any of the parties.

“Of concern to us on Chappaquiddick is the fact no one has been willing to make even a verbal guarantee that we will have access to an essential service other taxpaying citizens of Martha’s Vineyard have enjoyed for years.

“As a member of the Martha’s Vineyard community and the CEO of Comcast, we would appeal to you for your involvement and assistance. Please do not allow history to repeat itself and leave Chappaquiddick and other areas of the Vineyard on the sidelines again.”

Johnathan Cobb

Bob O’Rourke

Chris Trancynger

Dennis Goldin

Chappaquiddick